Father Lawrence McTavey
Father Lawrence McTavey

After an extensive investigation, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany announced Friday that it will add the late Father Lawrence G. McTavey to its List of Offenders, citing “reasonable cause” related to four allegations of sexual abuse against minors. The decision comes after the Diocesan Review Board hired an investigator to look into new and historic allegations against McTavey, resulting in the finding of “reasonable cause” to accept the allegations as credible. Parishes and schools where the priest served will be notified. (The List of Offenders can be found at www.rcda.org/offenders.)


At the time of his death in December 2019, McTavey was on administrative leave due to allegations of abuse that had been filed against him in September 2018. As is the case whenever any allegation is received, the Diocese immediately forwarded the related claims to the appropriate district attorney for review, per diocesan policy. Upon release from the district attorney in January 2019, the independent Diocesan Review Board was able to commence its own investigation. The process was not completed until this month due to unavoidable delays in the investigation.


The Diocesan Review Board forwards all pertinent information related to an accused priest, allegations of abuse, and any investigatory reports to the Bishop, who reviewed everything before making a decision to accept the board’s recommendation.


Born in Troy, McTavey was ordained for the Diocese of Albany in 1955. Over the course of his priesthood, he served as assistant pastor at St. Peter the Apostle, Stillwater (1955); Sacred Heart, Troy (1956-57); and Blessed Sacrament, Albany (1958-67). He was pastor of St. Bernard’s in Cohoes for 33 years (1973-2006), and after his retirement in 2007, he served at St. Mary’s, Crescent, and Holy Trinity, Cohoes. He also taught religion at Catholic Central High School in 1957, and he served at Cardinal McCloskey Memorial High School in Albany from 1958-72, first as vice principal and guidance counselor and later as principal. All of the abuse occurred at Cardinal McCloskey Memorial High School - with one survivor stating that abuse occurred at St. Bernard’s parish rectory in Cohoes - from between 1964-74.


Allegations of sexual abuse were filed against McTavey in 2002, 2005, 2018 and 2019. The 2018 allegation is a renewal of the 2002 allegation, which originally resulted in the Diocese offering counseling assistance to the survivor. The 2005 allegation was deemed to have “no reasonable cause” by the Diocesan Review Board at that time. The two allegations filed in 2019 were not released back to the Diocese from the DA until 2020.

 

The Albany Diocese urges anyone who as a child was sexually abused by a Catholic priest or deacon to report the matter to a law enforcement agency or to the Diocese. To report an incident of abuse or to seek help, contact the Diocese’s Assistance Coordinator, Frederick Jones, at (518) 453-6646 or by email at assistance.coordinator@rcda.org