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Former St. Anastasia priest removed from Bklyn. post

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The removal of Father Joseph Byrns by Bishop Thomas Daily, leader of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, came after Daily’s office was contacted by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s office, church spokesman Frank DeRosa said. Byrns, who has been working at St. Rose of Lima Church in Brooklyn, has continued to deny the allegations, DeRosa said.

The Daily News reported Monday that Byrns again denied the sexual abuse allegations to his Brooklyn congregation and said the parishioners gave the priest a standing ovation after his statements.

Brothers Timothy and Robert Lambert contend that Byrns abused both of them as children for several years when he presided at St. Anastasia’s on 245th Street and Northern Boulevard. Byrns served at St. Anastasia’s from 1969 to 1983, DeRosa said. Timothy Lambert is now a priest and serves in New Jersey.

“He was placed on administrative leave, which means he is not permitted to act publicly as a priest,” DeRosa said of Byrns.

Daily has been accused of transferring priests suspected of abuse from parish to parish while serving as a bishop in Boston. DeRosa said information provided by Brown’s office “was sufficient enough for the bishop to review again the status of Father Byrns.”

— Kathianne Boniello

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