CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. – A priest who pleaded guilty to accusations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a teenager will not face jail time.
Reverend James Michael Taylor pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child on Wednesday. He admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old girl.
By admitting guilt, Taylor’s attorney said there was an understanding that the District Attorney’s Office wouldn’t ask for the maximum sentence, which is one year behind bars. However, the Assistant District Attorney did not request probation, just a five-year order of protection for the victim.
“We’ve already been given the indication from the court that the court is not going to be imposing a jail sentence and that may have been part of the reason to encourage the defendant to enter the plea of guilty,” said ADA Karen Heggen.
Authorities have said Taylor met the teen when he was serving as deacon and youth minister at the Corpus Christi Church in Clifton Park. They said the inappropriate conduct involved physical contact, phone calls, text messages of photos and that it went on for seven months.
“Again, because he’s thrown himself on the mercy of the court, it’s not up to our office to make a, to make a determination as to what the sentence is going to be. By accepting responsibility and pleading guilty to the charge the law provides that it’s now up to the judge to sentence the defendant,” Heggen said.
Authorities were concerned there could be other victims, but to date, no other victims have come forward.
Taylor is now able to continue working with kids potentially worrying parents.
“Well, what I would say to that is by pleading guilty to this charge, he will have a criminal record going forward for the rest of his life.”
The Albany Diocese has put Father Michael on administrative leave. A spokesman said they will be conducting an investigation after his sentencing on October 8.