CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. – A guilty plea was entered in Clifton Town Park Court Wednesday by a priest accused of endangering the welfare of a child.
James Michael Taylor, 30, also known as Father Michael, will not serve jail time nor be placed on probation as part of the plea.
Saratoga County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Buckley said the DA’s office only asked for a five-year order of protection in court Wednesday. She said it was per the victim’s family’s request.
The Saratoga County Sheriff said Taylor was having an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old Clifton Park girl since October 2013. The behavior allegedly included physical contact, telephone calls, text messages and photos.
Investigators said Taylor met the girl while serving as a Deacon and Youth Minister at the Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church in Round Lake.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany immediately placed Taylor on administrative leave after he was charged.
The judge adjourned sentencing until October 8. He said he needs more information before accepting a sentence of no jail time or probation. He also ordered another investigation into the case.
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger released a statement Wednesday following the court proceedings.
He said: “As a church, our first responsibility is to ensure the safety of children. The Albany Diocese will await the conclusion of legal proceedings before conducting our own review of the matter.”
The diocese also stated it has a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse of children, and any priest or deacon convicted of such an act is permanently removed from ministry.