Father Ricardo Fajardo has stepped aside from his duties as pastor of Holy Spirit parish in the Bronx, while an allegation of abuse made in a lawsuit is investigated.
A lawsuit has been filed under the Child Victims Act alleging the sexual abuse of a minor by Father Fajardo. The alleged conduct would have occurred in the 1990s. The allegation has been shared with the Manhattan and Bronx District Attorneys.
In an April 28 letter to parishioners, Auxiliary Bishop Edmund J. Whalen, vicar for clergy, said, “Although you will undoubtedly find this news disturbing, as I do, I know that you would prefer to hear it directly from me, and not from the news media.”
The bishop said Father Fajardo has denied the allegation, “and is, of course, considered innocent until proven responsible, but he has agreed to step aside while the matter is investigated, and will not publicly exercise his ministry while the allegation is under review.”
Bishop Whalen requested that parishioners of Holy Spirit pray “for both the person who brought this allegation, and for Father Fajardo.”
Father Eric Cruz, the Bronx regional director of Catholic Charities, will serve as temporary administrator of Holy Spirit parish.