Two priests have been added to the diocese’s list of clergy with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
The priests are G. Edward Knight and Thomas Joyce, according to a statement from the diocese. Knight is deceased and Joyce has been permanently removed from ministry, according to the updated list. The list can be found at thecatholicsun.com and syrdio.org.
Knight died Nov. 10, 1986, according to Sun archives. Joyce was excardinated from the Diocese of Syracuse and incardinated into the Diocese of Dodge City in 1981, according to Danielle Cummings, chancellor and director of communications.
The diocese’s Child & Youth Protection Policy defines a credible allegation as one that, “based upon the facts of the case, meets one or more of the following thresholds: a. Natural, reasonable, plausible and probable; b. Corroborated with other evidence or another source; or c. Acknowledged/admitted to by the accused. In making this determination, consideration is given to the trustworthiness of the source.”
The credibility of an allegation is determined by the 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,” according to the same policy.
These are the first names added to the diocese’s list since it was publicly released Dec. 3, 2018. The list now names 59 clergy.
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 as laicized; and two as dismissed from the clerical state. A priest permanently removed from ministry is no longer able to function as a priest, identify himself as a priest, or wear clerical attire, according to information included on the list.
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 statement follows:
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/.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.