Editor’s note: The Diocese of Buffalo released Nov. 5 a second list of priests with substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor. Father James Smyka, OFM Conv., appears on that list. The Diocese of Syracuse issued the following statement Nov. 12:
Father James Smyka is a Conventual Franciscan Friar. The Diocese of Syracuse received a request from the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, Our Lady of the Angels Province in October 2014 for Father Smyka to be granted faculties to serve in the diocese. The Order informed us that Father Smyka was being appointed as Chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital for 16-20 hours a week per a contract between St. Joseph Hospital and the Order. Faculties were granted in November 2014 to serve in the diocese as the Order informed the diocese that Fr. Smyka had completed and was up to date with his Praesidium requirements which are their safe environment protocols.
There have been no allegations of abuse by Fr. Smyka in the Diocese of Syracuse. The Diocese of Syracuse has no prior or current information of any abuse allegations against Fr. Smyka at any time. The Diocese was informed by the Order of Friars Minor Conventual that Fr. Smyka would be leaving Assumption Church in October 2018. There was no indication that he would be leaving due to any allegations of abuse.
The Diocese has no other information regarding the allegation. It is the policy and practice of the Diocese of Syracuse that no member of the clergy be in active ministry with a credible complaint. Additionally, it is diocesan policy to inform the appropriate District Attorney of any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by clergy immediately. The Diocese of Syracuse has no information regarding any allegation against Fr. Smyka.