Priest with Diocese of Syracuse charged with sex abuse

LAFAYETTE (NY) [Syracuse, NY]

September 1, 2023

By Clare Normoyle

On August 31, the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office arrested 36-year-old Nathan Brooks of Lafayette for three misdemeanors surrounding multiple occasions of sexual abuse.

Back on August 22, Cortland County Sheriff’s received reports of allegations of sexual abuse by Brooks, a priest with the Diocese of Syracuse, that took place between 2019 and 2021.

Cortland County Sheriff’s Office says an undisclosed location in the Town of Homer and an undisclosed location in the City of Cortland are where the allegations stemmed from.

“The investigation revealed that the defendant, Nathan Brooks, had subjected one victim to inappropriate sexual contact on multiple occasions over several years. The victim was known to Mr. Brooks,” said the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office.

Brooks is due in Homer Town Court, Tuesday, September 5th and Cortland City Court September 6th.

In July, the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese agreed to pay $100 million to sex abuse victims, as part of a bankruptcy settlement.

Brooks was charged with:

  • ​Endangering the Welfare of a Child (A Misdemeanor)
  • Forcible Touching (Class A Misdemeanor)
  • Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree (Class B Misdemeanor)

Bishop Lucia with the Diocese of Syracuse released a statement on behalf of the situation:

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that the Diocese of Syracuse has been informed by the Cortland County Sheriff’s Department that four misdemeanor charges involving a minor have been filed against Father Nathan Brooks in Cortland County Court on August 31, 2023. Following diocesan policy, Father Brooks who serves as Administrator of the Church of the Nativity at St. Joseph, Lafayette; Immaculate Conception, Pompey; St. Leo, Tullly and St. Patrick Mission, Otisco is suspended from all priestly ministry during the investigation of these charges.  In keeping with our Memorandum of Understanding with the local County District Attorneys, the diocese has and will continue to fully cooperate with the Cortland County District Attorney’s Office.

This is distressing news, most certainly to me, and to all of you. 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.  I ask that you join me in praying for all parties involved as well as continuing to be ever vigilant in adhering to our Diocesan Code of Conduct and Safe Environment Protocols.


Brooks is scheduled to appear in the Town of Homer Court on September 5.

This investigation is ongoing.