Father Thomas Sykes
Diocese of Orlando/Franciscan
- St. Teresa (Titusville, FL)
- St. John Vianney (Orlando, FL)
- Bishop Moore High School (Orlando, FL)
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Thomas Sykes:
Father Thomas Sykes was a member of the Franciscan Friars. He is believed to be the “Fr. Thomas S.” cited in a December 1987 San Jose Mercury News article. According to media reports, in 1976, he was removed from ministry in the Diocese of Orlando after the parents of a 16-year-old boy reported that he had molested their son.
In 1987, a man alleged that he and his brother had been sexually abused by Father Sykes when they were children. The man’s brother committed suicide. The surviving brother settled with the Diocese of Orlando in 1994.
Father Sykes was transferred to a parish in Richmond, and eventually laicized. He later married and moved to the Boston area. He testified in the Father Authenrieth case that the Diocese of Orlando refused to give him psychiatric treatment even though he “begged” for it from Bishop Grady. He died in 2002.
In July 2011, the surviving brother filed another suit, for breach of contract. It said that in 1994 Diocese officials had agreed to pay for the victim’s psychological treatment for as long as needed, but discontinued payments in 2008, just as the victim developed ideas of suicide, alcohol abuse and other symptoms stemming from severe depression.
“As kids, we both sought guidance and counsel from Father Sykes as our trusted priest, and instead, he sexually abused us,” the victim statement says. “My brother hanged himself from a tree in his front yard because he couldn’t cope with what Sykes did to us anymore.”
In February 2019, Father Sykes’ name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Richmond’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. He is also listed on the Diocese of Orlando’s 2020 List of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.
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