Monsignor Resigns Amid Affair Accusation
NEW YORK – A Roman Catholic monsignor named in court papers as "the other man" in a divorce case resigned Thursday as rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral (search), the New York archdiocese said.
Cardinal Edward Egan accepted Msgr. Eugene Clark's (search) resignation from the key church position despite the 79-year-old Clark's denials that he has been carrying on an affair with his 46-year-old private secretary, the church said.
"He offered his resignation for the good of Saint Patrick's and the Archdiocese," the statement said. "He will not be celebrating Mass or the sacraments publicly until this matter has been resolved."
Clark has been rector of St. Patrick's in midtown Manhattan since 2001 and has often celebrated Mass there when the cardinal was away. A strong proponent of traditional morality, he blamed the church's sex-abuse scandal in 2002 on "the campaign of liberal America against celibacy."
Clark was named in divorce papers filed last week in Family Court in White Plains by Philip DeFilippo (search), 46, who claimed that a private investigator taped his wife, Laura, and the monsignor entering and leaving a Long Island hotel last month. The videotape was shown Monday to New York City newspapers.
DeFilippo also claimed that the DeFilippos' teenage daughter was exposed to the relationship.
A call to Clark's lawyer, Laura Brevetti, was not immediately returned. Laura DeFilippo's lawyer, Michael Berger, said he would not comment on Clark's resignation. Both lawyers have previously denied that the monsignor and his secretary had a sexual relationship, accusing Philip DeFilippo of distorting an innocent event.
Archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling had said Wednesday that Clark was not asked to step down as rector because unlike priests who were accused of molesting boys, he was not accused of anything illegal and was denying the allegations.