Assignment History– Rev. John L. Abrams
Summary of Case: John L. Abrams was ordained for the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1951. He was an assistant priest at several consecutive parishes before being placed in charge in 1971 of St. Gregory's in Crown Heights for eight years, followed by three years as pastor of Sacred Heart in Bayside, Queens. In 1982 he was transferred to St. Patrick's in the Fort Hamilton neighborhood, where he assisted until 1988. During 1988-1989 Abrams was 'in residence' at St. Francis de Chantal. According to the Official Catholic Directory, he was 'Absent on Sick Leave' 1989-1997, after which he was 'Retired.'
At some point after the US Bishops' Conference in 2002, several men came forward to the diocese with allegations that Abrams had sexually abused them when they were boys during the late 1970s-early 1980s, while Abrams was pastor of Sacred Heart. The diocesan review board determined in 2007 that the allegations were credible. Abrams was barred from public ministry, and the matter was to be referred to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Diocese of Brooklyn
Bishop was Thomas Edmund Molloy (1921-1956), followed by Bryan Joseph McEntegart (1957-1968).
||Most Holy Trinity (German)
||4/4, 3/4, 2/3, 2/4, 2/5
Most Holy Trinity had a grade school with 251-293 boys and 250-294 girls, and a boys' high school with 374-674 students.
McEntegart was succeeded as Brooklyn bishop by Francis John Mugavero (1968-1990).
||St. Sylvester's had a school with 624-389 boys and 643-455 girls.
||Brooklyn (Crown Heights)
||4/4, 1/3, 1/2, 1/4 Administrator 1971-1974
||St. Gregory's had a school with 757-403 students.
Brooklyn (Bayside, Queens)
• Sometime in the early 2000s the diocese received complaints from multiple people that Abrams had sexually abused them as boys while he was pastor of Sacred Heart.
||Sacred Heart had a school with 611-776 students.
||Brooklyn (Fort Hamilton)
||3/7, 2/7, 2/8
||St. Patrick's had a school with 675-500 students.
||St. Frances de Chantal
||4/4 In residence
Thomas Vose Daily replaced Mugavero as Brooklyn bishop (1990-2003).
||Absent on Sick Leave
||The address given for Abrams through the 1996 Directory is that of St. Frances de Chantal in Brooklyn, although he is not listed as there in the Brooklyn pages.
Daily was succeeded by Nicholas Anthony DiMarzio (2003-).
Abrams lived at the Bishop Mugavero Residence. He is not indexed beyond the 2007 Directory.
Abrams was barred from public ministry in November 2007 after the diocesan review board found "sufficient evidence" that he had sexually abused minors while pastor Sacred Heart parish in Queens in the late 1970s-early 1980s. The matter was to be referred to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Abrams was 83-years-old at the time.
Priests in a Parish: We use the following
convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means
that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually
the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand
3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample
page from the Directory.
Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, ).
• Former Queens Pastor on Leave from Ministry, Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, November 8, 2007
• 'Perv' Cleric, 83, Loses Priestly Powers, New York Post, November 14, 2007
• Ex-Sacred Heart Pastor Barred from Ministry, by M. Junaid Alam, Times Ledger, November 15, 2007
Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic
priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication
year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory
for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year
as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into
the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to
correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading
or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the
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This assignment record collates Abrams' career history as it is represented
in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in
the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations
we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes
that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven
guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are
presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise.
Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private
settlements. For more information, see our posting
This assignment record was last updated on November 14, 2017.