FRIAR FACES ALLEGATIONS (Will remain a priest but loses right to minister publicly)

Gabriel Massaro, a 62 year old popular Capuchin Friar who spent the past two decades preaching at retreats in local parishes, can no longer function publicly as a priest because of allegations that he molested several boys, including one from Long Island and another from Queens.  However, he will remain a priest because he is a member of a religious order, an offshoot of the Franciscans.  Order priests, whose superiors report directly to Rome, do not come under the zero tolerance policies adopted by the nation's Catholic bishops in June.  In 1979, at St. Margaret of Scotland parish in Selden, Massaro preached about vocations to boys who were ready to recieve the sacrament of confirmation.  Several of the boys accepted an invitation to spend a weekend at the order's retreat house in Garrison, NY.  One of them, now a 35 year old man, said he was abused.  The father of the then 12 year old boy said, Masaro wore a cowboy hat and boots and the kids loved it.  His son attended two retreats in Garrison before the father became concerned about certain language and sexual references his son was making.  He was also alarmed that Massao and another cleric whom he only remembers as Brother John gave the boy their private telephone numbers.    

(New York)