Father Daniel Maher.
Father Daniel Maher.

After an extensive investigation, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany announced Friday that it will add Father Daniel Maher, a retired priest who has been on temporary administrative leave since February, 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 Maher, resulting in the finding of “reasonable cause” to accept the allegations as credible. Parishes where the priest served will be notified. (The List of Offenders can be found at www.rcda.org/offenders.)  

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, the Diocesan Review Board was able to commence its own investigation.  

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger placed Maher, 82, on administrative leave on Feb. 8, 2020, following an allegation in April 2018 of sexual abuse of a minor in the 1960s and 1970s. The case was not returned to the Diocese for investigation until November 2019, at which point the Diocesan Review Board began its own investigation.

While on leave, Maher was barred from officiating at sacraments, wearing clerical garb, or presenting himself as a priest. Those restrictions become permanent with the Bishop’s acceptance of the independent Diocesan Review Board’s recommendation.  

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

Maher, who retired from active ministry in 2008, served as pastor of Holy Cross (now All Saints), Albany, from 1994-2008; pastor of Sacred Heart (now Immaculate Heart of Mary), Watervliet, from 1973-94; associate pastor of St. Francis de Sales, West Albany (now Christ Our Light, Loudonville), from 1966-73; associate pastor of St. Mary’s, Clinton Heights, from 1965-66, and associate pastor of St. Teresa of Avila (now Mater Christi), Albany, from 1962-65. Born in Ireland, he was ordained there in 1962 and joined the Diocese of Albany a few months later. In 2003 and 2005, allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were filed against Maher. The Diocesan Review Board found “no reasonable grounds” in both cases and he remained a priest in good standing.  

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.