Associate pastor resigns amid past claims of inappropriate behavior

A priest of the archdiocese has resigned due to past allegations of significant boundary violations with young adults and minors and Archbishop George J. Lucas’ promise to hold clergy to a higher standard of behavior in response to the worldwide clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Since 2016, Father Andrew Syring has been associate pastor of St. Mary Parish in West Point, St. Anthony in St. Charles Township, St. Aloysius in Aloys and St. Boniface in Monterey.

He was accused in 2014 of unwanted touching of young adults, publicly hugging and kissing minors on the cheek, and inappropriate conversations with young adults and teenagers. That was during a previous assignment that began in 2011 as associate pastor of Divine Mercy Parish in Schuyler.

He denied the allegations, which were reported to law enforcement, the archdiocese said in a Nov. 4 news release. No legal actions were taken.

At the time, Archbishop Lucas informed parishioners of the claims at two parish listening sessions.

Father Syring, 41, was admitted to a treatment center and was evaluated by a team of mental health experts. He received months of in-depth residential care, the archdiocese said.

After review by the Archdiocese Review Board – comprised of lay experts in law enforcement, child protection and welfare, education, psychology and medicine, as well as one priest – Father Syring was cleared to return to parish ministry.

The archdiocese has received no new allegations since that time.

Father Syring, who was ordained in 2011, also was a priest-in-residence at St. Bernard Parish in 2014 and associate pastor of St. Wenceslaus Parish from 2015 to 2016, both in Omaha. He was named to his most recent assignments in 2016.

At parish listening sessions last month concerning the sexual abuse scandal in the church, Archbishop Lucas promised greater transparency and accountability for clergy and church personnel.

As part of that effort, the archbishop said he would begin reviewing current clergy assignments. That review led to Father Syring’s resignation, the archdiocese said.

Father Syring indicated he planned to leave the priesthood, said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor.

Anyone who has been sexually abused by church personnel should contact law enforcement. They also can contact Mary Beth Hanus, the archdiocese’s manager of victim outreach and prevention at 402-827-3798.

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