Retired priest charged with child porn has Ossining ties

By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon
October 31, 2017

The Archdiocese of New York set a deadline of Nov. 1 for alleged victims of abuse by priests to file to seek compensation.

[with video]

A 96-year-old retired Catholic priest was charged Tuesday with more than 70 counts of possession of child pornography, the Bronx District Attorney's Office said.

Monsignor Harry Byrne, who celebrated weekend masses at St. Ann's Church in Ossining during the 2000's, was charged after a five-month investigation that determined he surfed online for images of young girls, prosecutors said. 

Byrne was arraigned on 37 counts each of possessing obscene sexual performance by a child and possessing a sexual performance by a child.  

A resident of St. John Vianney Center for Retired Priests in the Bronx, Byrne was released after the arraignment and is due back in court in January.

“Monsignor Byrne has dedicated 72 years to charity and the church with an unsullied history," said his lawyer, Marvin Raskin. "It is difficult to imagine that at the age of 96 plus, he knowingly understood and is responsible for the content of the subject on a computer accessible to numerous people.” 

Raskin said that there has been no allegation of sexual abuse by Byrne.

However, the arrest comes one day before the deadline for victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests to file to seek compensation from the Archdiocese of New York. 

The Archdiocese's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program reviews cases of alleged sexual abuse by priests and provides cash compensation for victims whose abuse is confirmed. 

The deadline for the current phase of the program was extended until Nov. 1.



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