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.

Ordained: 1951
Retired: 1997

Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Diocese of Brooklyn

Bishop was Thomas Edmund Molloy (1921-1956), followed by Bryan Joseph McEntegart (1957-1968).

1962 Most Holy Trinity (German) Brooklyn NY 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).

1971 St. Sylvester's Brooklyn NY 4/4, 3/4 St. Sylvester's had a school with 624-389 boys and 643-455 girls.
1971 1979 St. Gregory's Brooklyn (Crown Heights) NY 4/4, 1/3, 1/2, 1/4 Administrator 1971-1974 St. Gregory's had a school with 757-403 students.
1979 1982 Sacred Heart

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.

NY 1/4 Pastor Sacred Heart had a school with 611-776 students.
1982 1988 St. Patrick's Brooklyn (Fort Hamilton) NY 3/7, 2/7, 2/8 St. Patrick's had a school with 675-500 students.
1988 1989 St. Frances de Chantal Brooklyn NY 4/4 In residence  


Thomas Vose Daily replaced Mugavero as Brooklyn bishop (1990-2003).

1997 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-).

2007 Retired Little Neck NY  

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 

Note: The 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 source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

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 policy.

This assignment record was last updated on November 14, 2017.


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