From the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin:
BY TOM WILBER •TWILBER@GANNETT.COM • FEBRUARY 8, 2010, 8:55 PM
The regional Episcopal church responded promptly to complaints of sexual abuse against a former rector in Owego and continues to cooperate with police on the case, the bishop of the Central New York Diocese said Monday.
"We have a very clear, no-tolerance policy," said Gladstone B. Adams. "We contacted the state police and offered any assistance."
Adams was referring to Ralph E. Johnson, who faces 45 charges related to sexual abuse of a boy at the former Episcopalian priest's home in Susquehanna County, Pa.
Pennsylvania State Police arrested Johnson on Friday and charged him with 15 counts of deviate sexual intercourse, a felony; 15 counts of indecent assault, a misdemeanor; and 15 counts of corruption of minors, a misdemeanor.
Johnson is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 2 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Clifford Township Court. He was released from Susquehanna County jail on $50,000 unsecured bail, which means he would have to pay the money if he failed to appear in court.
The charges stem from incidents between 1992 and 1995 at Johnson's home in Gibson Township, Pa., with a victim between the ages of 11 and 15, according to police records.
Johnson was the rector at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Owego in the 1970s and was active with the Episcopal church until he was deposed in 2006 after he voluntarily submitted himself to Adams for discipline. The action followed complaints of sexual misconduct brought to the denomination's attention by the Rev. David G. Bollinger, who was St. Paul's rector at the time.
After receiving the complaints, the diocese contacted the district attorneys' offices in Broome and Susquehanna counties to report the allegations, Adams said. The denomination did not know the victim's identity at the time, making it difficult to proceed with a case, he added.
Upon learning the victim's name, the church contacted state police to offer help with the investigation, Adams said.
"We are fully cooperating with authorities," he said. "Our concern always is with victims."
Bollinger, rector of the church from 1985 to 2005, said Adams rebuffed him after he reported the complaints against Johnson years ago.