February 4, 2014 - Archdiocese of Boston Places Rev. Joseph F. Byrne on Administrative Leave of Absence*

66 Brooks Drive
Braintree, Massachusetts 02184
TEL: (617) 746-5775     FAX: (617) 782-9416

Contact: Harry Pierre

Archdiocese of Boston Places Rev. Joseph F. Byrne on Administrative Leave of Absence

(Braintree, Mass.) February 4, 2014 - The Archdiocese of Boston today announced that it has placed Rev. Joseph F. Byrne on an administrative leave of absence as a result of receiving an allegation of sexual abuse of a child. Fr. Byrne is a retired Senior Priest. The allegation concerns conduct alleged to have occurred in the early-1970s and was recently reported to the Archdiocese. 

The Archdiocese immediately notified law enforcement of the allegation and has initiated a preliminary investigation into the complaint.  Fr. Byrne will remain on administrative leave without any public ministry pending the outcome of the preliminary investigation.  The decision to place Fr. Byrne on administrative leave represents the Archdiocese’s commitment to the welfare of all parties and does not represent a determination of Fr. Byrne’s guilt or innocence as it pertains to this allegation.  The Archdiocese will work to resolve this case as expeditiously as possible and in a manner that is fair to all parties. 

Fr. Byrne was the subject of a previous allegation made in 2012 relating to conduct alleged to have occurred in the 1970s. After a complete investigation into the initial allegations and an evaluation of those claims by the Archdiocesan Review Board, the allegations were found to be unsubstantiated and no criminal charges were filed.

Through its Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, the Archdiocese continues to make counseling and other services available to survivors, their families and parishes impacted by clergy sexual abuse and by allegations of abuse by members of the clergy. Cardinal Seán encourages any person in need of pastoral assistance or support to contact the Archdiocese’s Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach by calling 617-746-5985.

About the Archdiocese of Boston’s Child Protection Efforts

Since his installation, Cardinal Seán has made it a priority to create safe environments in the Archdiocese’s churches and schools and to continue to support all people impacted by clergy sexual abuse.  The policies and practices of the Archdiocese include working with law enforcement agencies and community professionals to report and investigate instances of sexual abuse, annually screening approximately 60,000 clergy, employees and volunteers, and implementing effective prevention training programs.  In addition, through the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach (OPSO), the Archdiocese continues to reach out to those who have been harmed by the tragic reality of clergy sexual abuse in order to provide pastoral help and counseling services to survivors and their families.