Msgr. Michael Delaney placed on leave over allegations of sexual misconduct

Jul. 5—Monsignor Michael J. Delaney, pastor of Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Clarks Summit, was placed on administrative leave and barred from practicing the ministry based on allegations he sexually assaulted an adult with a cognitive impairment, the Diocese of Scranton announced.

The Diocese was notified March 26 that a man alleged Delaney assaulted him in 2002, when the man was 31, while Delaney served as pastor of St. Gabriel Church in Hazleton, the Diocese said in a press release. It immediately notified police and began its own investigation, which determined the allegation is credible.

"The Diocese's initial assessment shows an imbalance of power and vulnerability that existed between Monsignor Delaney and the reporting individual, given cognitive impairment that the individual acknowledges, displays and has been documented and shared with the Diocese of Scranton," the Diocese said in the release.

The release notes the Diocese previously received reports between 2007, and 2009, that alleged Delaney engaged in inappropriate conduct with four other adults. Law enforcement investigated but no charges were filed related to those incidents. He was placed on leave in 2008, and early 2009, but was allowed to return to the ministry by the prior Diocesan administration in 2009, following a "period of rehabilitation," the release says.

Larry Moran Sr., attorney for Delaney, said Our Lady of the Snows parishioners were notified this past weekend of Delaney's removal.

"He has been falsely and wrongfully accused of inappropriate conduct," Moran said in a statement. "He is a good, holy and hardworking Roman Catholic priest. That's his reputation. It is hard-earned and well-deserved."

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