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.

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.


  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:


      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".

    • Dan says:

      Likewise, I don't hear any mention from either one of you of the 34 priests and four deacons of Nebraska that had "substantiated claims of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct with, a minor" made against them. Yet you don't think your material is one-sided?

    • LLC says:


      In this list, only five alleged misconducts happened after the implementation of Safe Environment standards in 2002. One of individuals is deceased, and was incarcerated for his crimes. Two are disputing the claims. One left the Archdiocese of Omaha in 2003 and his whereabouts are unknown. One, finally, was removed from ministry. For all these names, the referral to Law Enforcement happened immediately after the Archdiocese was informed of the allegations.

      One of the disputed allegations refers to Rev. Andrew Syring. Doesn’t the fact that he’s been proven innocent of any wrongdoing make you question the Archdiocese’s definition of “substantiated”?

      Furthermore, although five allegations are five too many, we can say that the implementation of strict standards in 2002 have greatly contributed to create a safer environment for kids in the Archdiocese. Can you say the same for any other organization where adults interact with kids, including schools, sport organizations, medical institutions or other religious organizations (including your church)?

      As for the allegations of acts that might have happened prior to 2002, too many are horrendous, no doubt about it. But in many cases, some details in the list are still not convincing. For example, how can you define “substantiated” an allegation that doesn’t even have a certain date (the year, not the day or the month)? Or, can you trust memories from almost 60 years ago? Regardless, in some cases the Archdiocese acted late, but, as TMR and others have repeatedly shown, in the vast majority of the cases there was no ill-intent or malice. It was the way to deal with such issues back then.

      But none of this is about the topic of this post. You have yet to produce a comment in regard to Rev. Andrew’s lawsuit. Allegedly, you have been in the same situation. How would you feel if your name were arbitrary re-added to a list of individuals accused of sexual misconduct? What are, in your church, the rules of deference and obedience to the elders?

      Have a blessed week, brother.

    • Dan says:

      LLC, You have no understanding of the word hypocrisy? You attack everything I say. You make all kinds of excuses and minimize the "horrendous" guilt of your hierarchy, claiming you all have "repeatedly shown, in the vast majority of cases there was no ill-intent or malice".

      Then you have the nerve to compare the lying accusations from your own church railed against me, to one of your priests, (FR. Andrew), who had accusations of kissing and hugging numerous children. Who knows if it wasn't really groping or sexual gratification which your lying church and complicit civil authorities just prefer to overlook. It's not as if the church hasn't handled other cases in simular fashion, all for the protection and sake of it's wonderful reputation.

      In my cases, I did jail time, 5150 holds and cash plea bargains and never came close to grabbing, kissing or touching children. It is not fair that you think it necessary to try to loop me in with your guilty hierarchy of all types of "sexual misconduct". Please stop with the hypocrisy of wishing me "a blessed week, brother", because by now it's obvious what you really mean and would prefer to say.

    • Dan says:

      Since this is more current, maybe you would like to discuss accusations of victims and whistleblowers in regards to the Vatican seminary and St. Peter's altar boys and their child molestation allegations. So much for the popes "zero tolerance policy". They've known about it for a few years and have done nothing until now. Let's see what kinds of excuses you can dream up for these cases. 

    • LLC says:


      Glad to see that you are still doing well, in fire-battered California.

      The word hypocrisy is funny; it also applies to someone who allegedly has been accused of indecorous sex behavior, took a plea bargain, did some reparation time, still claims persecution and innocence but somehow considers others in the same predicament as invariably guilty. Go figure.

      Doesn’t matter. My two questions for you, regarding the topic of this post, were and are:

      1) what do you think of father Andrew’s lawsuit against the Archdiocese? Some posters here think it’s appropriate; I am on the fence.

      2) what are the rules in your church regarding deference and obedience to the elders? If they kept you from a remunerative activity for a similar reason (after all, you also have been in the same situation as father Andrew), would you sue them? Would you accept their reasoning in obedience?

      As for the alleged crime in the Vatican Seminary, if you read the case, it is barely comparing apples to apples. Alas, it’s still a stain on Jesus’ Church white clothes, but nothing that His precious blood can’t wash away, nor does it invalidate His promise from Matthew 16:18.

  5. Mark Taylor says:

    Nice to have you on board, Malcolm. As a united force, we may be able to make more people aware of the other under-reported side of the coin. Now it used to be that the media had little to say about genuine victims of sexual assault by clegy. I guess people didn't want to believe it, certainly some victims were actually punished by their parents for lying. In the 80's this began to change and we had victims groups such as SNAP and Broken Rites being set up to help them.

    So it can only be a matter of time before we hear more about falsely accused priests. Maybe one day we shall have a Royal Commision into that like we have had into abused people here in Australia. It might even make some people who have stopped going to Church decide to return.