November 05, 2005

Couple testify in church case

Albany Times Union

By CAROL DeMARE, Staff writer
First published: Saturday, November 5, 2005

ALBANY -- A retired couple who worship at Holy Cross Church testified Friday that attorney John Aretakis taunted them during a protest held by alleged sex abuse victims.

Robert and Mary Ellen Powers were called by the attorney for Holy Cross, which is seeking an injunction to keep Aretakis and his supporters 100 feet from church entrances.

The protesters have demonstrated on Sunday mornings for nearly six months, calling for the removal of the pastor, the Rev. Daniel J. Maher, who they allege molested an altar boy in 1973. A investigation by the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese cleared the priest.

Aretakis represents numerous victims of sexual abuse by priests and the protesters in the case before state Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Spargo, which bears on the right to assemble and the freedom of religion. The hearing began last month with testimony that the protesters upset parishioners and frightened children. It resumed this week.

Posted by kshaw at November 5, 2005 07:09 AM