As part of its ongoing effort to protect children, the Diocese of Brooklyn has posted on its website the names of 13 men who had been ordained priests but have now been returned to the lay state because of sexual abuse incidents.
A spokesperson for the diocese said that these names were being made public because the men are still alive and may be in positions that would bring them into contact with children.
She said the decision to release the names arose from the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), which allows survivors of abuse to apply for financial compensation.
“The IRCP has given us the opportunity to re-examine cases and engage in continuing dialogue with survivors,” said Carolyn Erstad, spokesperson for the diocese.
“As a result, we are taking additional steps to ensure the protection of children.
“When the Diocese launched the IRCP back in June, Bishop [Nicholas] DiMarzio said that he would never stop working toward reform and he re-affirmed his commitment to the protection of children. I think what we are seeing here are those words in action.”
“This is about the protection of children. By providing these names we are providing the public with information that can help them keep children safe.
The laicized priests are:
- Joseph P. Byrns, former pastor of St. Rose of Lima, Parkville, released in 2002
- Christopher Coleman, former assistant at St. Martin de Porres, Bedford-Stuyvesant, released in 2011
- Romano J. Ferraro, who was on a sick leave and living in Jamaica, released in 1988
- William E. Finger, who was residing at St. Mary Star of the Sea, Far Rockaway, released in 1980
- James R. (Jaime) Lara, who was on a sick leave, released in 1992
- Charles M. Mangini, former assistant at St. Mark’s, Sheepshead Bay, released in 1993
- Robert J. McConnin, former pastor of St. Nicholas of Tolentine, Jamaica, released in 2007
- Thomas B. Nohilly, former pastor at Holy Cross, Flatbush, released in 2002
- Thomas O. Morrow, who was in private counseling practice, released in 1987
- Stephen Placa, former assistant at St. Gregory the Great, Bellerose, released in 2002
- Barry E. Ryan, a former U.S. Air Force chaplain, released in 1994
- Patrick Sexton, former assistant at St. Patrick’s, Long Island City, released in 1990
- Daniel J. Sheehan, former assistant at St. Pancras, Glendale, released in 1998.
According to The New York Times, upon being confronted with the publication of his name by the diocese, Lara resigned his research position at the University of Arizona.
While this marks the first time the diocese is publicly listing the names of laicized priests, all of the names listed were turned over to the Queens or Brooklyn DA years ago. It was in 2002, with the implementation of sweeping reform, that the diocese turned over every allegation ever made against a priest to the local district attorneys. As part of a zero-tolerance policy, any new reports of allegations of abuse go immediately to the district attorney and appropriate law enforcement.
Credible charges result in the immediate removal of a priest or deacon from active ministry.
Also all employees and volunteers of the Church must undergo a background check and are required to attend an educational workshop pertaining to sexual abuse.
Children in all Catholic schools are instructed in awareness concerning sexual abusers.