By Katherine Long | Editor
Two priests have been added to the diocese’s list of clergy with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
G. Edward Knight, who is deceased, and Thomas Joyce, who is no longer in active ministry in the diocese, have been added to the diocesan list, according to a statement from the diocese.
These are the first names added to the list since it was publicly released Dec. 3, 2018. The list now names 59 clergy. The list can be found here and on the diocesan website.
Of the men listed, 42 are listed as deceased; that number includes Knight as well as three men previously included on the list who have died since the list was first released: Chester A. Misercola died July 6, 2019; Albert J. Proud died Feb. 2, 2020; and John P. Wagner died Jan. 13, 2020.
Of the 17 living men, 13 are listed as permanently removed from ministry, including Joyce; two are laicized; and two have been dismissed from the clerical state.
There is no priest in active ministry with a credible complaint of abuse, the diocese stressed in its statement. The diocese urged anyone who as a child was sexually abused by a member of the clergy to report the matter to a law enforcement agency or to the diocese.
The diocese’s full statement is below:
The Diocesan Review Board recently reviewed allegations of child sexual abuse involving two priests independently, one deceased and one no longer in active ministry in the Diocese of Syracuse. As is the case whenever any allegation is received, the Diocese immediately forwarded the related claims to the appropriate district attorney for review, per diocesan policy. Upon release from the district attorney, the Diocesan Review Board was able to commence its own investigation.
Upon completion and review of the investigations, the Diocesan Review Board found the allegations to be credible. Bishop Douglas Lucia has accepted their findings. The individuals have been added to the List of Clergy with Credible Allegation of Sexual Abuse of a Minor found on the Diocesan website: https://syracusediocese.org/safe-environment/victim-assistance/list-of-clergy-with-credible-allegation-of-sexual-abuse-of-a-minor/. They are:
Name: G. Edward Knight
Ordination Date: February 3, 1958
Current Status: Deceased
Name: Thomas Joyce
Ordination Date: March 30, 1968
Current Status: Living
It is important to note that there is no priest in active ministry with a credible complaint of abuse. Allegations received by the Diocese and law enforcement have been decades old. The Diocese of Syracuse remains committed to all its components of its Child and Youth Protection Program which include:
1) A Memorandum of Understanding with local District Attorneys to immediately report any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor
2) A Victim Assistance Coordinator who serves as the liaison between the Diocese and individuals who report allegations of sexual misconduct
3) A Diocesan Review Board, a confidential, consultative body whose primary purpose is to assist the diocesan Bishop in making a determination of a cleric’s suitability for ministry upon receipt of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, young person, or vulnerable adult
4) Safe Environment training for all clergy all members of religious orders; all parish and diocesan employees, including those who have no contact with children, young people, or vulnerable adults; adult volunteers whose ministry or role places them in regular contact with children, young people, or vulnerable adults; and any adult interested in learning more about child abuse prevention.
5) Criminal Background Checks for all those required to participate in the Safe Environment Training.
6) Pastoral care in terms of both spiritual and mental health counseling.
As Bishop Lucia stated in his first Letter to the People: “To all victims, I once again in the name of the Diocese of Syracuse apologize most deeply and sincerely for the heinous acts perpetrated against them by their abusers who were supposed to be the caregiver of souls. I renew my own offer to meet with victims, if there is any way I can assist them in their search for healing and peace.”
The Diocese of Syracuse urges anyone who as a child was sexually abused by a member of the clergy to report the matter to a law enforcement agency or to the Diocese. To report an incident of abuse or to seek help, contact the Diocese’s Assistance Coordinator at email@example.com.
This story has been updated to correct the dates of ordination of both men.