FACT SHEET: Long Island Bishop John Barres and abuse and cover up

--About 130 of the 170 bishops in the US have posted names of credibly accused predator priests on their websites. This is not hard, expensive or controversial. Bishops started doing this in 2002. It’s the quickest and easiest way a bishop can protect kids. There’s no reason to keep hiding the identities and whereabouts of potentially dangerous individuals. Barres refuses to take this simple step toward prevention, healing and transparency.


--In May, we in SNAP asked Barres to by tell his flock about six credibly accused predator priests who were on Long Island but who have attracted virtually no attention there: Fr. Joseph Towle, Fr. Edward D. Horgan, Fr. Joseph Fitzpatrick, Fr. John Garvey, Fr. Ernest E. Robinson, Fr. Augustine J. Seidenburg. Barres essentially ignored us.


--And in February, we asked Barres to alert his flock to two other credibly accused predator priests who spent time on Long Island: Fr. Freddy Washington and Fr. Christopher Pliauplis. Barres essentially ignored us.



--In 2016, dozens of Altoona predator priests were exposed through a grand jury. We asked Barres to use diocesan websites, church bulletins, and pulpit announcements to warn his flock in Allentown(a neighboring diocese) about these priests. He essentially ignored us.


(Read more about what Pennsylvania grand jurors said about Barres and his diocese here:


(Read this story: “Allentown bishops, priests criticized for failing abuse victims.” There are 52 publicly and credibly accused predator priests in Barres’ former diocese.


--In 2016, Barres lied – or let one of his staff lie – to parishioners. They were told Fr. John Stephen Mraz stepped down because of “medical issues.” In fact, he’d been caught with child pornography. (In 2017, Fr. Mraz pled guilty.)



Yet neither Barres nor any of his staff were disciplined or even apologized for leading their flock.


--In 2014, Barres urged the Vatican to NOT oust Fr. Michael Lawrence from the priesthood, even though the priest had admitted to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy a d faced a second accuser.


--In 2011, Barres used church lawyers and legal technicalities to try to get a victim’s abuse case thrown out of court. (He failed.)


--In 2011, we urged Barres to do outreach in an abuse case. As best we can tell, he ignored us.


--In Pennsylvania, Barres lobbied hard to deny child sex abuse victims – of any perpetrator, in any institution – the change to protect others by exposing predators in court.


What you can to do help:

--Donate more generously than ever, but give to groups and institutions that fight abuse, not enable and hide it.

--Ask current and former Catholics if they were ever hurt by Long Island clerics (especially the ones listed here). If they were, urge them to call independent sources of help, like police, prosecutors, therapists and support groups like ours.

--Learn more about abuse and cover ups in this diocese by going to BishopAccountability.org.

--Call Rockville Centre church officials. Insist that they do what most other dioceses have done: prominently and publicly list predator priests on church websites, so that kids are safer.

CONTACT: Janet Klinger 516-749-3798, [email protected], David Clohessy 314-566-9790, [email protected], Zach Hiner 517-974-9009, [email protected]

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant