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Frankfort Man Claims Priest Abuse

Jul 15, 2004 | Observer-Dispatch

A Roman Catholic priest, who served at the former St. Peter and Paul Church in Frankfort, has been accused of sexually abusing an adult man with a past of clergy abuse.

David Leonard of Frankfort said in the suit that the Rev. Anthony Curran had inappropriate sexual contact with him as an adult in 1991. In addition, Leonard asserts he was shown child pornography at Curran's residence at the rectory.

The Albany diocese says the allegations are untrue.

Curran served in Frankfort from 1989 through 1994 shortly before the parish was combined with St. Mary of Mt. Carmel to form the Catholic Community of Our Lady Queen of Apostle, Church of St. Mary of Mt. Carmel/St. Peter and Paul, a spokesperson from the Queen of Apostle parish said.

Leonard said he was first molested by a member of the Stigmatine Order of Boston while attending boys' camp in the Berkshires at the age of 12, Aretakis said Wednesday.

Leonard also said he was later sexually abused by two more priests while studying for the priesthood at a minor seminary run by the Stigmatine Fathers.

Leonard later left the seminary and struggled for more than 20 years with mental issues including depression, anxiety and suicide attempts, Aretakis said.

In 1978, Leonard approached an uncle who was a Stigmatine priest for help. He directed Leonard to the Rev. John Bertolucci in Little Falls. According to Aretakis, Bertolucci told Leonard he was "demon-possessed and in need of an exorcism."

Leonard said he paid Bertolucci $6,000 to have the Rev. Richard McAlear perform the ceremony, which was supposed to be a healing rite.

The Albany Diocese has disputed that any such exorcism ceremony took place and argued that what may have been conducted was a healing prayer ritual.

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