Fr. James E. Russo – Diocese of Brooklyn

| Jun 17, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father James E. Russo

Diocese of Brooklyn

Ordained: 1970

Left Ministry: 1997

Laicized: 2016

Assigned as follows:

  • 1971: St. Bartholomew’s (Elmhurst, NY)
  • 1972-1976: St. Thomas Apostle (Woodhaven, NY)
  • 1977: St. Virgilius (Broad Channel, NY)
  • 1978-1979: Holy Family (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 1980-1981: On Duty Outside the Diocese; St. Patrick (Largo, FL)
  • 1982: Released From Diocesan Assignment; Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • 1983-1987: Blessed Trinity (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • 1984-1985: Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • 1988-1997: St. Michael the Archangel (Clearwater, FL)
  • 1991-1994: Catholic Charities (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • 1995-2020: Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father James E Russo:

Fr. James E Russo was the long-time president of Catholic Charities and was the diocese’s head of worship for many years, the person who helped guide liturgical policy in the diocese. According to media reports, in 1997, he was accused of sexually abusing a minor boy in the 1970s. He resigned as pastor of St. Michael’s in St. Petersburg, Florida in January 1997 because of “emotional items”. Within a week Bishop Lynch told the parish that “an episode of misconduct occurred many years ago” between Russo and an unidentified minor. Other victims subsequently came forward.

In 2003, he was named in a civil lawsuit involving 24 priests, in which he was accused of sexually abusing a minor boy in the late 1970s while at St. Virgilius in Broad Channel, New York. The suit alleged that Russo, who was in charge of altar boys, sexually abused a boy who was about 12 years old, taking him to his room in the rectory and forcing him to remove his clothes, where he fondled him. He was ultimately laicized in September 2016.

In February 2019, Russo’s name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Brooklyn’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Brooklyn, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims. Call us at 888-283-9922 or send an email to [email protected] to discuss your options today.