Giuliani Defends, Employs Priest Accused of Molesting Teens
The disgraced priest is accused of abusing two former students and an altar boy.
Oct. 23, 2007— -- 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.