Police in Saratoga County New York arrested 30-year-old priest and youth pastor James Michael Taylor last week on charges of misdemeanor course of conduct and endangering the welfare of a minor.
It is alleged that Taylor met the 15-year-old victim at his previous position as deacon and ministry youth leader at Corpus Christi Church at Round Lake. Taylor was ordained as a Roman Catholic Priest of the Albany Diocese in 2012, serving as priest and youth pastor at two churches over the past several years. At the time of his arrest, Taylor was employed at Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Niskayuna, which also serves as an elementary school. Taylor has since been placed on administrative leave.
The alleged misconduct took place between October 2013 and April 2014 when Taylor engaged in an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl from Clifton Park. Taylor is charged with having physical contact with the girl as well as contact through phone calls, text messages and the sending of inappropriate images.
Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy believes that there may be other victims pending a further inquiry. Murphy states that Taylor used his position of trust and power to gain access to the girl and her family and he is urging parents to speak to their children about any possible misconduct. “Be vigilant. Be inquisitive,” Murphy said. “If your kid tells you something that’s unusual or out of the ordinary, ask questions.” Murphy believes that this case could be a way to open the doors of communication between parents and their children about misconduct by adults.
Murphy is hoping that the media will be able to assist in alerting any other potential victims that Taylor is being prosecuted and if they come forward, they will be protected. “…We suspect that there may be other victims out there. While his name is James Michael Taylor, he went by Father Michael, which is how the public may know of him,” Murphy said.
On Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Albany released a statement about Taylor, the only one they say they will make until the case is resolved in court. In a press release, the diocese said that it, “notified law enforcement authorities in Saratoga County Monday afternoon immediately after receiving a complaint concerning a Diocesan priest and his alleged contact with a minor.”
A representative for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany confirmed that a letter was sent home last week to the families of students who attend the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Parish Elementary School, providing details of Taylor’s arrest.
Taylor, who is also a U.S. Army captain, has been released after his arraignment in Clifton Park Town Court, on the grounds that he must reappear in court at a later date. He has been ordered to have no contact with the victim after an order of protection was filed. The sheriff’s office is urging anyone with information or possible suspicion of misconduct to contact them right away.
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