The Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop of the  Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre has been informed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome that it has completed its final review of the status of Rev. Msgr. Alan J. Placa, a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.  The Congregation has found him to be not guilty of the allegation of sexual abuse of a minor which was made against him in June of 2002.

When the allegation was made, the Diocese immediately placed Msgr. Placa on administrative leave of absence.  Over the course of seven and a half years, this case has been subjected to extraordinary scrutiny including all of the elements required by the Essential Norms established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Dallas in 2002. 

This decision confirms the same decision which was determined in first instance by the Tribunal of the Diocese of Albany.  The Holy See’s definitive decision completes the canonical process for Msgr. Placa.  This action by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith renders the decision final and definitive.  As a result of this decision, Msgr. Placa is no longer on administrative leave and is now permitted to exercise priestly ministry freely in the Roman Catholic Church.  In accordance with the provisions of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law, we have been instructed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to restore Msgr. Placa to ministry and to do what we can to restore his good name.

“I thank the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith as well as the Tribunal of the Diocese of Albany for their work.  We will abide by its decision to return Msgr. Placa to ministry,” said Bishop Murphy.  “We hope that everyone in the diocese will recognize that Msgr. Placa is a priest in good standing.  It is my hope and prayer that this decision will bring closure and healing.  We also ask people of good will to join us in praying for those who were, in fact, victims of sexual abuse.  Their suffering must never be forgotten.”

Bishop Murphy and Msgr. Placa have agreed that Msgr. Placa will not be given a diocesan assignment.  Msgr. Placa will reside at St. Aloysius parish, Great Neck.  Msgr. Placa’s status is that of a retired priest in good standing.

Sean P. Dolan
Diocese of Rockville Centre
516-678-5800, ext. 625
Cell: 516-510-0473
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