Priest removed after sex allegations

(07/22/03) WEST HARRISON - Another Westchester community is rocked by a sacred scandal involving a priest and alleged sexual misconduct with a minor. Father Lawrence Inzeo, the popular pastor of St. Anthony's Church in West Harrison, has been removed and defrocked because of the accusations.

As News 12 Westchester first reported, the claims about Father Inzeo stem from an incident that allegedly occurred two decades ago. Now, the District Attorney is calling on any possible victims to come forward.

Father Inzeo allegedly sexually abused a minor 20 years ago while a priest in Newburgh up in Orange County. The accusations just began surfacing in recent weeks.

This past weekend, the Archdiocese of New York abruptly pulled Father Inzeo from his role as pastor and spiritual leader of St. Anthony's of Padua Church in West Harrison.

Parishioners who have grown to know and love Father Inzeo during the past eight years are heartbroken over the loss of their priest.

Father Inzeo has also been defrocked. The Archdiocese of New York tells News 12 Westchester he will not be allowed to perform his priestly duties while they investigate.

Even though these charges stem from an incident that allegedly happened while he was in Newburgh, Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro says they are interested in looking into the two decades that he's spent at three Westchester churches.

Pirro says that even if the allegations against Father Inzeo are true, he cannot be prosecuted because the statue of limitations has expired.

Calls to the District Attorney in Orange County, where the alleged abuse took place, were not immediately returned.

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