Fr Bernard Garstka – Diocese of Syracuse

| Jul 23, 2019 | Catholic Church

Father Bernard Garstka

Diocese of Syracuse

Ordained: 1948 

Assigned As follows:

  • 1949 – 1953         Sacred Heart (Syracuse, NY)
  • 1954 – 1958         St. Ann (Binghamton, NY)
  • 1959 – 1960         Blessed Sacrament (Johnson City, NY)
  • 1961 – 1962         Holy Trinity (Utica, NY)
  • 1963 – 1964         Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Binghamton, NY)
  • 1965 – 1966         St. Patrick (Taberg, NY)
  • 1966                    Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (Cincinnatus, NY)
  • 1967 – 1971         St. Stephen (Marathon, NY)
  • 1972 – 1982         St. Stephen (Syracuse, NY)

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father Bernard Garstka:

According to media reports, in December 2002, a man filed a lawsuit accusing Father Bernard Garstka of sexually abusing him as a child in 1963. In January 2003, another man filed a suit alleging sexual abuse during the same time period. This man was a child living in a foster home at the time. 

Court documents indicate that Father Garstka recruited the alleged victim as an altar boy when he was 10 years old. As the relationship progressed, Father Garstka raped the boy. The boy was told that he would go to hell if he told anyone about what Father Garstka did.  At one point, Father Garstka told the boy: “I’m God.”  Father Garstka also insisted that women were evil and that the boy should only have contact with his mother and sister, and no other females.

In September 2004, the cases were dismissed by the state appeals court based on the expiration of statute of limitations.

Garstka’s name appeared on the Diocese of Syracuse’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, published in December 2018. He is among 20 priests in the Diocese of Syracuse who were dead at the time an allegation of abuse was reported. He faced no claims while alive, according to the Diocese of Syracuse.

In June 2020, Garstka was named in three civil lawsuits filed against the Diocese of Syracuse only a few days before the Diocese filed for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Syracuse in New York.  The Diocese of Syracuse filed for federal bankruptcy protection in June 2020.  Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Syracuse may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply.  Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Syracuse will never be able to take any legal action if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.