Church clears Giuliani friend in abuse case

AP News
Posted: Dec 05, 2009 3:43 PM

The Roman Catholic church says it has exonerated a Long Island priest of allegations that he molested a teenager.

Msgr. Alan Placa is a close friend of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and went to work at his consulting business after the accusations were lodged against him in 2002.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre said in a statement Friday that a panel in Rome had concluded Placa was innocent.

The church says Placa may resume his ministry. Bishop William Murphy says the diocese will do what it can to "restore his good name."

The alleged victim tells Newsday he is "astonished" by the finding. Now 50, Richard Tollner says he was abused by Placa in 1975, when he was in high school.

Placa has repeatedly denied the accusation.