Ex-Sacred Heart Pastor Barred from Ministry

By M. Junaid Alam
Times Ledger
November 15, 2007

A former pastor at Bayside's Sacred Heart parish has been barred from presenting himself as a priest or administering sacraments after an investigation by the Diocese Review Board found "sufficient evidence of sexual abuse of minors," the Diocese of Brooklyn has announced.

John Abrams, who presided over the 215-35 38th Ave. church from 1979 to 1982, was accused of sexually abusing minors during his tenure, but the allegations were not brought forward until the U.S. Bishops "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" was implemented, the diocese said. That measure was approved in June 2005.

Bayside parishioners were informed of the diocese's findings during Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 masses by Msgr. Sean Ogle, the Episcopal vicar for the Queens North Vicariate.

A letter distributed to churchgoers from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio read in part: "You are undoubtedly aware of the deep suffering and hurt that surround any matter of child abuse, especially when allegations involve a member of the clergy...Sadly, I must advise you that, following an investigation, sufficient evidence of sexual abuse of minors by John Abrams has been found..."

The letter further noted that Abrams, who is retired, would be placed on leave and given the opportunity to receive professional help.

The diocese's investigation was conducted by an eight-member panel which operates in confidence, diocese spokesman Frank DeRosa said. "I have high regard for the review board," he added.

DeRosa said that after the diocese receives any allegation, "it is immediately turned over to the DA" - even if the statute of limitations has expired. The Queens district attorney's office said it had no record of charges filed against Abrams.

DeRosa said he did not have a full record of Abrams' service, but that the now-retired pastor spent about seven or eight years at St. Patrick's in Bayridge, Brooklyn following his Bayside ministry.

The spokesman said a conversation with one parishioner indicated the announcement had little immediate impact on most of the congregation because Abrams had not served there in 25 years.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.