On Wednesday, the Archdiocese of New York announced, through its official newspaper, that Father Richard Gorman, the archdiocese’s director of prison chaplains, as well as a prominent local political leader, was suspended after being accused of sexually abusing minors 30 years ago.

The archdiocese said that it reported the allegations to law enforcement immediately, and that, while they were determined to be credible, they have not yet been substantiated. As such, Gorman is not permitted to perform the public duties of a priest until the matter is resolved.

Mike Reck, a lawyer for one of the victims, said the alleged abuse took place in the ‘80s, when Gorman was a priest at St. Barnabas’ Church, in the Woodlawn neighborhood of the Bronx. There, Reck said, Gorman “used that position of power to access a child, who was a parishioner. He transported him to another church-owned facility and that’s where that incident of abuse occurred.” According to CBS News, that facility was in Westchester County.

“He decided to come forward now because he was at a stage of his life where he was aware of the trauma and realized the perpetrator could still access children,” Reck said.

Since the late 1980s, Gorman has been the chairman of Community Board 12, in the Bronx. He was the subject of a short profile in the New York Daily News in 2007:

He’s battled toxic nightmares, greedy developers and indifferent bureaucrats for 25 years, both as a priest and as a member of a Bronx community board. Though not an official chaplain, the Rev. Richard Gorman is also known to cops across the Bronx for being there when they’ve needed him.

Next week, “Father Rich” will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his ordainment - and the 25th anniversary of his service to Community Board 12 in the north Bronx.

Chairman for the past 17 years, he has used his office to fight for district services, seeing community work as akin to spiritual service.

“I’ve been blessed to see the best of humanity,” Gorman said. “I think people are happy to see someone who cares about the things they care about.”

Image of St. Barnabas’ via Google Maps. Contact the author of this post: brendan.oconnor@gawker.com.