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Priest sues Archdiocese of Omaha for defamation

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 4:13 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2020 at 6:58 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An associate priest removed from his position for what the Archdiocese of Omaha claims were significant boundary violations with young adults and minors, is suing the Archdiocese of Omaha for more than $2 million.

In the suit, Father Andrew Syring claims he did nothing wrong and has been denied due process.

Father Andy had served as the associate pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in West Point and was at Saint Mary’s for about two years. He resigned in 2018 and was removed from public ministry.

According to a statement from the archdiocese two years ago, Archbishop George Lucas promised to hold appointed clergy to a high standard. And the resignation was for significant boundary violations with young adults and minors.

Father Andy’s attorney denies the allegations and says no legal action was ever taken against his client.

Lyle Koenig says Father Andy’s name was put on a list of clergy members who were accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, Koenig says his client never committed any crime.

Last month, Father Andy’s attorney filed a suit in Cuming County District Court suing the Archdiocese of Omaha for more than $2 million.

“When the archdiocese placed his name on a list of priests who were credibly accused of sexual criminal misconduct, they in effect convicted him without the benefit of a trial, without the benefit of him being able to present evidence, without him being able to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him, and in effect, he’s been convicted without a trial,” Koenig said.

The archdiocese responded in a statement: “Father Andrew Syring’s dispute with the Archdiocese of Omaha concerns a personnel issue and involves internal church discipline; since the complaint is now a matter of litigation, the archdiocese will withhold comment for now and respond to allegations only within the confines of the lawsuit.”

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