Fr. Joseph P. Byrns – Diocese of Brooklyn

Father Joseph P. Byrns 

Diocese of Brooklyn

Ordained: 1969

Removed: 2019

Laicized: 2013

Assigned as follows:

  • 1970-1979      St. Anastasia, Douglaston, NY
  • 1980-1988      St. John’s Preparatory High School, Long Island City, NY 
  • 1989-1994      St. Andrew Avellino, Flushing, NY 
  • 1995                Holy Cross, Maspeth, NY 
  • 1996-2003      St. Rose of Lima, Brooklyn, NY 
  • 2004                On Leave/Unassigned 

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Joseph P. Byrns:

According to media reports, in 2002, Father Joseph P. Byrns was named in a lawsuit alleging he sexually abused two minor altar boys, who were brothers, in the late 1960s and early 1970s while at St. Anastasia in Douglaston, New York. No charges were filed but prosecutors found the allegations credible. 

One brother, who was allegedly abused for four years starting at age 11, grew up to become a priest. When he went to the Diocese of Brooklyn with a detailed claim that Father Byrns had repeatedly sexually abused him years earlier, he was met with denial and disdain.

“I’ve certainly been treated like I’m the one who is a criminal,” he said. “I’m very upset with how the church has handled this, across the board. The dishonesty, the deceit, thinking they are above the law.”

In 2004, Father Byrns was removed from ministry, and criminally charged with sexually abusing – from 2000 through 2002 while at St. Rose of Lima in Brooklyn. He convinced the boy that the molestation would “bring him closer to God,” the teen testified in court. He gave him money and toys to keep him quiet and also threatened him.  In January 2006, he pleaded guilty to child endangerment and was sentenced to three years’ probation. 

Father Byrns was laicized in May 2013. In February 2019, his name appeared on the Diocese of Brooklyn’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. His current whereabouts are unknown. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Brooklyn, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.