The Archdiocese of Boston announced today that it has placed Rev. Joseph F. Byrne, a former priest of a Waltham church, on an administrative leave of absence as a result of receiving an allegation of sexual abuse of a child.
Father Byrne is a retired priest living on the Cape and used to serve as a priest at Our Lady Commforter of the Afflicted Parish in Waltham from 1994-2002.
Bryne, a Senior Priest with limited ministry in parishes in Falmouth, is listed on the website of St. Patrick's Church in Falmouth as a retired priest who serves that parish.
The allegation concerns conduct alleged to have occurred in the early-1970s and was only recently reported to the Archdiocese, according to a press release from the Archdiocese of Boston.
While St. Patrick's is part of the Fall River Diocese, Fr. Byrne served as a priest in the Boston Archdiocese before he retired. Here is a list of the parishes where he served: 1969-1975, St. Matthew, Dorchester; 1975-1985, St. John the Baptist, Quincy; 1985-1994, St. Albert the Great, Weymouth and 1994-2002, Our Lady Comforter of Afflicted, Waltham.
"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," stated the release.
“We remain committed to doing everything possible to ensure the safety and well-being of children and young people in our parishes and institutions,” stated Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley. “I know the faithful and the clergy of the Archdiocese join me in this pledge of prayerful support.”
"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," stated the press release.
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 (781) 794-2581.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally reported on Falmouth Patch, and has been re-posted here.