Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani hired a Catholic priest to work in his consulting firm months after the priest was accused of sexually molesting two former students and an altar boy and told by the church to stop performing his priestly duties.
The priest, Monsignor Alan Placa, a longtime friend of Giuliani and the priest who officiated at his second wedding to Donna Hanover, continues to work at Giuliani Partners in New York, to the outrage of some of his accusers and victims' groups, which have begun to protest at Giuliani campaign events.
"This man did unjust things, and he's being protected and employed and taken care of. It's not a good thing," said one of the accusers, Richard Tollner, who says Placa molested him repeatedly when he was a student at a Long Island, N.Y. Catholic boys high school in 1975.
At a campaign appearance in Milwaukee last week, Giuliani continued to defend Placa, who he described to reporters as a close friend for 39 years.
"I know the man; I know who he is, so I support him," Giuliani said. "We give some of the worst people in our society the presumption of innocence and benefit of the doubt," he said. "And, of course, I'm going to give that to one of my closest friends."
The accusations against Placa were made in testimony before a Suffolk County grand jury in 2002.
Tollner, now a mortgage broker in Albany, N.Y., says he was one of three people to testify about Placa.
"This man harmed children. He still could do it. He deserves to be shown for what he was, or is," says Tollner.
Appearing publicly for the first time today on ABC News' "Good Morning America," Tollner says the abuse started when he and Placa were in the high school making posters for a Right to Life march.
"As he started to explain how these posters should be done, I realized that something was rubbing my body," Tollner said. "After a minute or two, I realized that he's feeling me, feeling me in my genital area."
The grand jury report concluded that a Priest F, who Tollner says is Placa, abused the boys sexually "again and again and again."
"Priest F was cautious, but relentless in his pursuit of victims. He fondled boys over their clothes, usually in his office," the report said.
The report concluded that Priest F, and several other priests under investigation from the same Long Island, N.Y. diocese, could not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired.
Several former students from the same high school say they were asked by the "Giuliani organization" to contact ABC News and vouch for Placa.
"There was absolutely not a hint of rumor of a speculation or a whisper, in four years, or in decades after of any sexual predatoriness on the part of Rev. Placa," wrote Matthew Hogan in an e-mail to ABCNews.com.
Hogan says he recalls that Placa did give "special attention" to his former schoolmate Richard Tollner and remembers seeing Tollner in Placa's office "laughing, on opposite sides of a desk with Mr. Tollner happily animated sitting up on the couch talking."
But Hogan says the school area where Tollner says he was molested "was CONSTANTLY trafficked even on off days and hours."
"I will gladly help take apart in public anything that seriously overlooks the above. I'll be watching The Blotter like a hawk," Hogan wrote.