An East Rockaway Roman Catholic deacon has agreed to step away from his duties following allegations that he sexually abused a minor 26 years ago.
The accusations against Deacon Richard W. LaRossa, 72, a deacon of the Diocese of Rockville Centre assigned to the Church of Saint Raymond of Penyafort in East Rockaway, were recently reported to the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, said Sean P. Dolan, director of communications for the diocese.
Dolan said the matter has been reported to civil authorities and that LaRossa has agreed to step away from ministry while the required processes and procedures are undertaken.
"We ask for your prayers during these days, which are difficult for all of those involved," Doland said.
LaRossa is the fifth member of the Rockville Centre diocese to have been accused of sexual abuse in the past year. Four priests have also stepped aside due to allegations.
Deacons, who are ordained but, unlike priests, don't take a vow of celibacy and can marry, perform many of the same duties as priests. They can't hear confessions, hold Mass or administer last rites.
To report an incident of abuse, regardless of when it occurred, contact local law enforcement and the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People Hotline Number: 516-594-9063. All calls remain confidential except to the extent the diocese is obligated to report allegations to law enforcement.
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