Fr William T. Byrne – Diocese of Tucson

Father William T. Byrne

Diocese of Tucson

Ordained: 1952

Died: 1991

Assigned as follows:

  • 1952               Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, (Tucson, AZ)
  • 1952-1953     Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish, (Miami, AZ)
  • 1953-1956     Immaculate Conception Parish, (Douglas, AZ)
  • 1956               St. Ambrose Parish, (Tucson, AZ)
  • 1956-1962     Regina Cleri Seminary, (Tucson, AZ)
  • 1962-1964     St. Henry Parish, Mission Trailer Apostolate (Buckeye/Gila Bend, AZ)
  • 1964-1967     St. Jerome Parish, (Phoenix, AZ)
  • 1967               Christ the King Parish, (Mesa, AZ)
  • 1967-1971     Sacred Heart Parish, (Clifton, AZ)
  • 1971-1975     St. Francis of Assisi Parish, (Yuma, AZ)
  • 1975-1981     Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, (Tucson, AZ)
  • 1981-1985     Vocations, Diocese of Tucson
  • 1985-1991     St. Ambrose Parish, (Tucson, AZ)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father William T. Byrne :

According to media reports, Father William T. Byrne has been named in multiple civil lawsuits accusing him of both adult and child sexual abuse. In a 1999 lawsuit, Father Byrne was accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1976 to 1979 at Our Mother of Sorrows in Tucson, Arizona. In a 2002 lawsuit, Father Byrne was accused of sexually abusing two minor brothers at Holy Cross in Clifton, Arizona during the summers of 1968 and 1969. He took the boys to a church camp where he gave them cigarettes and alcohol, showed them pornographic movies, let them drive cars without licenses and sexually molested them.

According to another lawsuit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Father Byrne and three other priests had sex with a Tucson teenager who was later given a chancery job to ensure his silence. Another lawsuit claimed Father Byrne provided a minor boy with alcohol and took him to pornographic films on trips, and told him that certain sexuality was exempt from the prohibition of the church.

Father Byrne died in 1991. Prior to his death and the suits, the church officials said they were not aware of any allegations. 

Father Byrne was one of four priests named in a $14M civil settlement the Diocese of Tucson reached with 10 men in January 2002. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Tucson. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Tucson, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Tucson 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 to discuss your options today.