Bishop William Murphy, who heads the Catholic diocese on Long Island, has purged two top aides, including a close Rudy Giuliani pal, from their jobs and from a team handling cases against priests accused of child molestation.  His move follows criticism of the Diocese of Rockville Centre for how it has dealt with sex abuse cases, and news that a special Suffolk County grand jury will investigate how they were handled.  Suffolk County DA Thomas Spota said he believes church officials covered up for child abusing priests.  Murphy booted Monsignor John Alesandro as vicar generals, and named him pastor of an Oyster Bay parish.  Alesandro, 60, was named to the second-highest ranking job in the diocese just last fall, when Murphy took over.  Also booted was Monsignor Alan Placa, 57, who was both a vice chancellor and the bishop's aide on health issues.  He has gone on sabbatical to write a book, and will be named a parish pastor upon his return.  Placa is very close to Giuliani, having performed one of the former mayor's marriage ceremonies, and baptized his children.

(New York)