On Friday, Sept. 1, the Diocese of Syracuse was notified that Father Nathan Brooks had been charged with four misdemeanor counts involving a minor. A diocesan priest currently serving as administrator of parishes in southern Onondaga County, Fr. Brooks has entered not guilty pleas during court arraignments in Cortland and Homer. The charges are third-degree sexual abuse, forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child. The incidents took place between 2019 and 2021 according to authorities. The Cortland County Sheriff’s Office is investigating and the Diocese is fully cooperating. Fr. Brooks has been suspended from all ministerial duties while the investigation proceeds and is not residing in diocesan housing. He was ordained in 2019.

Fr. Nathan Brooks

Bishop Douglas J. Lucia was with the people of the Church of the Nativity worship sites this past weekend and will be with them for Masses this weekend as well. The following is Bishop Lucia’s Statement to the People of the Diocese of Syracuse released on Sept. 1:

    It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that the Diocese of Syracuse has been informed by the Cortland County Sheriff’s Department that four misdemeanor charges involving a minor have been filed against Father Nathan Brooks in Cortland County Court on August 31, 2023.  

     Following diocesan policy, Father Brooks who serves as the Administrator of the Church of the Nativity at St. Joseph, Lafayette; Immaculate Conception, Pompey; St. Leo, Tully, and St. Patrick Mission, Otisco, is suspended from all priestly ministry during the investigation of these charges. In keeping with our Memorandum of Understanding with the local County District Attorneys, the diocese has and will continue to fully cooperate with the Cortland County District Attorney’s office. 

    This is distressing news, most certainly to me, and to all of you. As a Catholic family, we have been on a journey of trying to make amends for the great harm that was caused in the past and now we are faced with this situation. Like me, I can only assume that you have many questions, but we must prayerfully await the conclusion of the investigation. I ask that you join me in praying for all parties involved as well as continuing to be ever vigilant in adhering to our Diocesan Code of Conduct and Safe Environment Protocols. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please contact our Diocesan Safe Environment Office at 315. 470.1465 or jbressette@syrdio.org.

    You have my commitment to inform you of the outcome of this investigation.  


In the Name of Jesus,

Most Rev. Douglas J. Lucia
Bishop of Syracuse

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