Claims against Lyons Go to Rome
By Jim Leggett
Daily Town Talk
January 21, 2006
Two allegations of sexual misconduct by Monsignor Frederick Lyons "several decades ago" have been thoroughly reviewed in the local diocese and will be examined in Rome.
Lyons, 81, is retired, but Bishop Ronald P. Herzog of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alexandria suspended him from all priestly functions until a verdict is made in the case.
Herzog said he could not reveal much because the accusers wanted anonymity. He did say the accusations were old.
He also said it is too late for any civil lawsuit.
An assessor was assigned to the case to gather evidence, and that evidence was turned over to a nine-member diocesan Permanent Review Board. A thorough review was made, and the evidence is to be sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome "for its examination of the case."
Herzog said the church has provided counsel for both accusers and for Lyons. Although the allegations have "been a shock" and "painful to all of us," the matter was made public to avoid any appearance of a cover-up, Herzog said.
Looking "for the truth will lead to justice," and that is the goal for all involved, Herzog said.
The Rev. Bruce Miller, diocesan judicial vicar and judge, said there is a "very carefully orchestrated process" to protect everyone involved.
Herzog said he wouldn't suggest a time line once the evidence gets to Rome.
Miller added that it's a very slow process. "Every case is treated individually and is carefully studied and not treated the same way. It's not a cookie-cutter situation."
People who know Lyons were surprised.
"He was at Prompt Succor when our kids were there," Cyndy Scott of Alexandria said. "We were very fond of him. We were very surprised."
Her husband, lawyer Jock Scott, said of Lyons, "He was one of my mother's favorite people as well as mine. He is a wonderful human being, and I just don't believe the charges."
Scott Brame said, "I am just very much distressed for him about it. He is a much-admired priest for a long time, very much loved by many people. At his age, this is a terrible thing."
Lyons was born in Astoria, N.Y. He attended St. John's College in Graymoor, N.Y., from 1943-45, the Benedictine Mission Seminary in Newton, N.J., from 1945-47, and summer school at Fordham University in New York from 1948-51.
He went to Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans from 1947-52 and was ordained into the priesthood in 1952 by the late Bishop Charles P. Greco in Alexandria.
He served as a priest at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, St. John the Baptist in Cloutierville, St. Anthony Padua in Bunkie and Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Alexandria. He was appointed monsignor in 1962 and retired in 1989.
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