LI Catholic deacon accused of decades-old sex abuse
A Roman Catholic deacon on Long Island is accused of sexually abusing a minor decades ago.
According to a statement from the Diocese of Rockville Centre, the allegation was made against Deacon Richard LaRossa, who served St. Raymond's Church in East Rockaway. The alleged abuse happened about 26 years ago but was recently reported to the diocese's Office for the Protection of Children and Young People. The diocese alerted law enforcement.
"Deacon LaRossa has agreed to step away from ministry while the required processes and procedures are undertaken," the diocese says.
LaRossa has been a staple of the East Rockaway parish since he was first ordained in 1991.
Albert Graves, a parishioner of St. Raymond's, says the allegation is "not a sign of guilt."
Another parishioner says an announcement about the allegation and investigation was made after a recent Mass. She also says the situation makes her sad for anyone involved.
St. Raymond's website says LaRossa has for years been making trips with church members to Guatemala, where the church has two sister parishes. LaRossa's name has been removed from the staff directory.
Prosecutors ask anyone with information to contact the Nassau district attorney's Special Victims Bureau at 516-571-1267.