Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]
September 5, 2023
By Kevin J. Jones
A Catholic priest in New York’s Diocese of Syracuse has been arrested on charges of sexual abuse, including that of a minor, for alleged incidents from 2019 to 2022. In response, the local bishop suspended the priest from ministry and called for prayers for everyone involved.
Father Nathan Brooks, 36, faces several misdemeanor charges filed Aug. 31 in Cortland County Court in central New York. These include endangering the welfare of a child, forcible touching, and sexual abuse in the third degree.
Brooks, who resides in the town of Lafayette, has been serving as administrator of three churches: Church of the Nativity at St. Joseph in Lafayette; Immaculate Conception in Pompey; and St. Leo, Tully and St. Patrick Mission in Otisco.
Bishop Douglas J. Lucia on Friday said that Brooks has been suspended from all ministry during the investigation.
“This is distressing news, most certainly to me, and to all of you,” Lucia said in a Sept. 1 statement. “As a Catholic family, we have been on a journey of trying to make amends for the great harm that was caused in the past and now we are faced with this situation. Like me, I can only assume that you have many questions, but we must prayerfully await the conclusion of the investigation.”
The Cortland County Sheriff’s Office received the allegations on Aug. 22. The sexual abuse allegedly occurred on multiple occasions between 2019 and 2022 in the town of Homer and the city of Cortland. The victim was known to Brooks, WIVT/WBGH News reports.
Bishop Lucia said the diocese will fully cooperate with the county district attorney’s office.
He asked the people of the Syracuse diocese to pray “for all parties involved” and to continue to be “ever vigilant” in adhering to the diocese’s conduct code and safe environment child protection protocols.
Brooks was ordained a priest in 2019.
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services’ Egan Journalism Fellowship.