Church reveals Bayside priest molested faithful

A retired priest, who presided over Bayside’s Sacred Heart Roman Catholic church some 25 years ago, can no longer publicly present himself as a cleric or administer sacraments.
The shocking declaration came after the Brooklyn Diocese Review Board (BDRB), which oversees Catholic churches in Brooklyn and Queens, found “sufficient evidence” that he sexually abused minors during his tenure.
Bishop Nicolas DiMarzio of the BDRB stripped Reverend John Abrams of his powers as a priest, after a number of alleged victims filed complaints about him to the diocese.
According to the eight-member panel, Abrams, 83, sexually assaulted minors from 1979 to 1982, while he officiated at Sacred Heart.
It was only after Catholic bishops in the U.S. issued their “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” in 2005 that the allegations were brought to the attention of the Diocese.
No criminal charges were ever filed against Abrams according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
DiMarzio wrote the letter, which informed the congregation of Abrams’ removal when it was read during Masses at the church, located at 215-35 38th Avenue in Bayside, on November 3 and 4.
“You are undoubtedly aware of the deep suffering and hurt that surround any matter of child abuse especially when allegations involve a member of the clergy,” he wrote. “I sincerely apologize to the victims for the emotional sufferings endured, caused by sexual abuse by a member of the clergy.”
DiMarzio’s letter also told the parishioners Abrams would be offered professional help while he was placed on leave in the meantime.
The disgraced cleric was no longer in active service as a priest.
Abrams’ fate will now be in the hands of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. They will decide if Abrams should be removed from the priesthood.
Frank DeRosa, a BDRB spokesman, said that Abrams also presided over St. Patrick’s Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn for seven or eight years after his term at Sacred Heart.
However, no similar allegations have surfaced during Abrams’ tenure at St. Patrick’s.

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