Two retired Syracuse police officers say law enforcement warned a Catholic bishop 30 years ago about Monsignor Charles Eckermann, a former priest with the Syracuse Diocese who was defrocked two months ago over allegations of child molestation.
Syracuse.com reported that in 1984, Syracuse’s police chief ordered an officer to deliver a warning about Eckermann to then-bishop Frank Harrison.
According to two retired officers, police had seen Eckermann soliciting male prostitutes repeatedly in downtown Syracuse. In May 1984, after Bishop Harrison announced that Eckermann would be the principal of Bishop Ludden High School, Police Chief Thomas Sardino gave officers an order to put a stop to it immediately.
The officers allege they met with the bishop and the next day he rescinded the appointment and sent Eckermann to work in a parish in Binghamton.
Sadly, the Syracuse Diocese never warned worshipers in Binghamton or in Syracuse’s suburbs about the concerns about Eckermann.
Four years later, Eckermann began sexually assaulting an altar boy at a church in Manlius where he was assigned, according to the altar boy, Kevin Braney.
Braney brought his allegations to the diocese last year. The diocese determined that the allegations were credible and the Vatican confirmed their finding and removed Eckermann from all priestly duties this year.
Thanks to the brave survivor who came forward, an accused child molester will no longer have unfettered access to children.
Unfortunately, the Syracuse diocese decided not to make the safest choice to protect kids, and it cost at least one child his innocence.