Review board finds abuse allegations credible

According to a statement issued by the Diocese of Rochester, the Diocesan Review Board, which independently evaluates allegations of sexual abuse for the diocese, has found to be "credible and true" two men’s complaints that Father Dennis Shaw sexually abused them when they were minors.

The statement was read at Masses Feb. 4 and 5 at Auburn’s Holy Family Church, where Father Shaw served from 2005 until he was placed on administrative leave in December 2010 after the diocese deemed as credible an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1970s while serving at the former St. Francis of Assisi Church in Rochester. The diocesan statement noted that many Holy Family parishioners had inquired about the priest’s status.

Father Shaw remains on administrative leave and is no longer able to exercise public ministry in any capacity, according to the diocesan statement. The priest’s case will be referred to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for review and final disposition, the statement said.

"The maximum penalties are up to and including laicization, or removal from the clerical state," said Doug Mandelaro, spokesman for the diocese.

The review board found two abuse allegations to be true and credible, according to the diocesan statement, and one of the men alleged that abuse occurred multiple times over a period of several years. The review board — which is made up of clergy and lay professionals with expertise in the fields of law enforcement, law, medicine and child protection — unanimously accepted the findings following an extensive investigation, the statement said.

Father Shaw was ordained March 22, 1974. After ordination, he served at Blessed Sacrament Church in Rochester from 1974-77; St. Francis of Assisi Church in Rochester from 1977-87; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Rochester from 1987-93; Community of Hope (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel/St. Michael/Holy Redeemer/St. Francis) from 1993-2005; and at Holy Family Church, Auburn, since 2005.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Diocese of Rochester encourages victims of abuse to always report to the civil authorities. To report a case of possible sexual abuse and to receive help and guidance from the Diocese of Rochester, victims are encouraged to contact Barbara Pedeville, the victims’ assistance coordinator, at 585-328-3228, ext. 1215 (toll-free 1-800-388-7177, ext. 1215), or e-mail pedeville@dor.org.

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