NEW YORK – A high-ranking priest in the Archdiocese of New York — a former secretary of the late Cardinal John O'Connor — resigned his positions as church pastor and auxiliary bishop after admitting to several affairs with women, the archdiocese announced Tuesday.
Bishop James F. McCarthy, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Shrub Oak in Westchester County, admitted to the affairs after they were brought to the attention of archdiocesan officials in a letter that arrived Saturday.
"I take this opportunity to express my personal care and concern for all involved in this situation, in particular any women and their families who may have been hurt, and Bishop McCarthy as well," Cardinal Edward Egan said in a statement.
The affairs took place over the course of several years, according to the archdiocese. Church officials said they will cooperate with prosecutors if any legal issues arise from the affairs.
Because the case apparently did not involve any minors, criminal charges were unlikely.
Just two months ago, McCarthy had spoken about how the ongoing scandal involving sexual abuse by priests had eroded the relationship between priests and their parishioners.
Throughout the metropolitan area, at least 11 priests accused of sexual misconduct have been suspended from front-line duties in Roman Catholic Church parishes and schools.
Officials in the New York archdiocese have given prosecutors information on 35 years worth of sex abuse cases. In the neighboring Diocese of Brooklyn, officials gave prosecutors information on more than 30 priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors over the past 20 years.