Many Voice readers may be aware of Rudy Giuliani’s longtime friendship with Msgr. Alan Placa, a priest accused of not only molesting four minors on Long Island but covering up other child abuse cases that he was supposed to investigate for the Catholic Church. Wayne Barrett wrote about Giuliani and Placa in June in a larger article about Rudy’s campaign on his supposed Catholic record.
Special grand jury reports from the Suffolk County Supreme Court, which were released in 2003, shed more light on Placa’s alleged misdeeds with little boys.
A little background on Placa from the Barrett story:
Alan Placa is not just a major figure in Giuliani’s marital life: He baptized both of Giuliani’s children, and though already stripped of his priestly powers, he was given special dispensation from his bishop in Long Island to preside at Helen Giuliani’s September 2002 funeral. A month earlier—despite still-pending allegations that he’d groped four minors in Long Island’s Diocese of Rockville Center—he was hired as a three-day-a-week consultant at Giuliani Partners, where he remains today. Michael Hess, the managing partner of Giuliani’s firm and the city’s former top lawyer, represents Placa in the ongoing cases. When first reached by a reporter at Giuliani Partners, Placa claimed that he was only visiting—a falsehood quickly reversed by a firm spokeswoman….Indeed, even if one assumes that America won’t be offended by the contradiction between Giuliani’s marital choices and his professed Catholicism, that will almost certainly change as the country learns more about his best friend, business associate, and lifelong link to the church. New York papers have reported some devastating details, drawn largely from a Suffolk County grand jury report issued in 2003
Placa was the Catholic clergyman identified as “Priest F” in the grand jury report, according to Richard Tollner, one of his accusers who testified before the grand jury, and various media accounts.
The three-page section of the report that deals with Placa says that he started abusing an altar boy in his first assignment as a priest:
“Once, when he was working at the rectory on a slow evening, the boy was in the office watching TV, Priest F came in and asked if he could join him. He pulled a chair up next to the boy and put his right hand on his thigh. Slowly his hand began to creep up towards the boy’s genital area. Alarmed, the boy covered his crouch. After Priest F’s efforts to push his arm away failed, Priest F gave up and left. The boy remembered that Priest F was very nervous. He never told anyone at the time because he didn’t think anyone would believe him”
In his next assignment, “Priest F” did not relent:
“Priest F was cautious, but relentless in his pursuit of victims. He fondled boys over their clothes, usually in his office. Always, his actions were hidden by a poster, newspaper or a book. He talked continuously as he fondled them. Everyone in the school knew to stay away from Priest F.”
A footnote in the report about one of those instances of alleged abuse contains an absurd but heartbreaking detail: “One of the victims remembers the first incident of abuse taking place when preparations were underway to attend a right-to-life march on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. The students were making banners with Priest F’s help. It was a banner that was used as the foil on this occasion.”
Literally fondling boys under a right-to-life banner. Wow. It’s an irony that you might have to be Catholic to appreciate.