Falsely Accused and Alone: Priest Forced to Sue Own Archdiocese to Clear His Name

Rev. Andrew Syring : Archdiocese of Omaha

Seeking justice: Falsely accused Rev. Andrew Syring of the Archdiocese of Omaha

Rev. Andrew Syring recently announced that he was forced to sue the Archdiocese of Omaha after he was fully cleared by both church and civil authorities of any wrongdoing yet was still removed from ministry and placed on a publicized list of priests with substantiated claims of abuse.

Syring's suit seeks $2.1 million, an amount he figured he would have made in 35 years as a priest.

Innocence Is Irrelevant

The archdiocese removed Syring back in 2013 after claims of something called "boundary violations" with minors. And in addition to being completely absolved by investigators, psychiatric evaluations from two different institutions cleared him of having any predatory behavior or other disorders.

The Greatest Fraud Never Told : David F. Pierre, Jr.

THE GREATEST FRAUD
NEVER TOLD:
False Accusations,
Phony Grand Jury Reports, and the
Assault on the Catholic Church
(The new book at Amazon.com)

Yet in 2018, the archdiocese abruptly removed Syring after Omaha Archbishop George Lucas allegedly told Syring that "heightened standards" for public ministry now necessitated his removal.

In other words, Rev. Syring has always been completely innocent of any wrongdoing, but the mere accusation in his past was enough for a bishop to remove him from ministry for good. So much for justice, it seems.

Accused priests are now on their own

These are indeed dark days for the Catholic priesthood.

Priests must now live in a state of constant fear that they will get a phone call from the chancery requesting a meeting about some vague accusation from decades earlier by a person they don't remember and can hardly defend against.

Meanwhile, priests are presumed guilty by the press and public, and they are too often not even supported by their own bishop, who is too often more interested in his public image and the cries of the media mob than seeking truth and serving the ends of justice.

The new book telling the stories of falsely accused priests

Tragically, Fr. Syring's story is hardly unique. Read more stories about wrongfully accused priests in the just released new book, The Greatest Fraud Never Told: False Accusations, Phony Grand Jury Reports, and the Assault on the Catholic Church by David F. Pierre, Jr. The Greatest Fraud Never Told tells about the broken lives and ruined reputations of countless priests wrongly accused of abuse.

Rev. Peter M.J. Stravinskas of The Catholic Response has already read it, and we thank him for his wonderful review of the book over at The Catholic Thing web site.

Comments

  1. LLC says:

    In my opinion, this is a case where a little bit more open dialogue between the two parts could've and would've avoided this escalation, while providing a good PR case to promote the cause of making known the tragic situations of the many unjustly accused priests.

    On one side, the archdiocese is right to err on the side of caution, especially given the still biased and hostile reporting from the Media. Fr. Syring is also in his rights to ask for a full reinstatement, especially after being cleared by multiple inquiries. It is unclear from the article (and I wasn’t able to find more details) why Fr. Syring has been added again to a list of clergies accused of abuse, and if he was notified a priori of such inclusion. Perhaps it was simply a misunderstanding. Perhaps a cleric at the archdiocese made a mistake. Surely, the archdiocese has been under scrutiny in recent times, which could explain (not justify) the excessive zeal of including Fr. Syring in the more recently published list.

    But, again, in this heated climate of Media persecution, all Catholic organizations should be an example of communication and transparency. Clearly it wasn’t the case in Omaha. Hopefully, this painful situation will be solved with full satisfaction of both parts without too much ado.

    • Dan says:

      LLC,

      Why must you insist on beating a dead horse? The "Media" didnt rape and molest your own catholic children. We're not taking the insistent denials, lies and the false word of child molesters as to their innocence. There has been way too many priests and bishops who claimed their innocence, only to later molest more kids and we're found to be guilty as Hell.

    • Malcolm Harris says:

      Sometimes the real reason for a decision is not made public. What may be the reason for this harsh decision can be pondered upon… based upon what we know about the standard lawyer's playbook. Often the original accusation does not withstand investigative scrutiny and the accused priest is cleared. As was the case with Rev. Andrew Syring. But it may not end there. The accuser contacts like-minded opportunists, former school buddies who also claim. They are re-assured that there is virtually no risk to their reputation, or their wallet. So they consult the same lawyer….with their recently minted story. He then makes more accusations against the same priest. If the Archbishop still dismisses the claims the media will soon scream that he is protecting a priest who has multiple claims against him. Call me suspicious but that is my take on this particular injustice. One of many against our priests.

  2. It is outrageous that the Church does not stand behind their priests.  It is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. They deserve to be sued.  But no amount of money can repair the damage done to their reputation, the ending of their vocation etc.; it is truly sad. He and many others will be in my prayers. 

  3. Joanne Schrader says:
  4. Mark Taylor says:

    I know I have said this before, but it is a scandal that the likes of Loud Fence – a Facebook page set up to support victims of pedophile priests – will say nothing about the other side of the coin. Nobody who comments there says anything about falsely accused priests either. Nobody that is, except me.

    • Malcolm Harris says:

      Out of curiousity went to the Facebook page mentioned by Mark Taylor…. and found it just as one- sided  as he described. But he now has a least one ally….. with a counter narrative message…. myself.

      Some wise person once said…."If God is with us then who can be against us".

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