The Diocese of Buffalo has placed three diocesan priests on administrative leave, following a new abuse accusation that dates back to the 1990s.
In a press statement issued on Saturday, the diocese announced new allegations against three priests of the diocese: Fr. Adolph Kowalczyk, Fr. Gregory Dobson, and Fr. Mieczyslaw Nycz. The anonymous accusation came under New York’s Child Victims Act.
The Buffalo News reported that an Erie County man filed the lawsuit. He was a student at Sacred HeartSchool at the time the alleged abuse occurred. The plaintiff claims the three priests “coerced him to engage in sexual contact with other underage female students,” which the priests allegedly filmed on school grounds and in “the confessional rooms.”
“The Diocese of Buffalo recently became aware of an action brought pursuant to the Child Victims Act,” Buffalo’s press release stated, “by an individual who alleges that he was abused as a child in the 1990s by three priests of the Diocese.”
Buffalo said they notified both law enforcement and the Independent Review Board, and has reached out to plaintiffs’ counsel regarding any cooperation with an investigation.
“Bishop [Michael] Fisher wishes to emphasize that the decision to place the priests on administrative leave at this time
Bishop Michael Fisher of Buffalo told the AP that the priests all “deny ever committing any acts of abuse,” and emphasized that his decision to put the priests on leave “is in no way intended to indicate their guilt or any determination about the truth or falsity of the complaint,” the diocese stated.”
The Attorney General of the State of New York has filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, NY, two former bishops, and the man who was then serving as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese, alleging they they covered up sexual misconduct allegations and misused charitable assets when they used them to support priests they allowed to remain clerics restricted from active ministry, rather than make them face trial for their alleged misconduct and possible dismissal from the clerical state.
The Diocese of Buffalo sought bankruptcy protection in February of 2020, after being inundated with hundreds of lawsuits under the Child Victims Act, which opened what was originally slated to be a one-year window that began in August 2019, in which child sex abuse lawsuits could be filed in relation to old cases on which the statute of limitations had already expired.
A judge put some three dozen suits againstBuffalo Catholic parishes and schools on hold until Oct. 1, 2021, in order not to interfere with settlement payouts that were a part of the bankruptcy process.
New York State also extended the filing window for another year — until August 14, 2021 — in view of the coronavirus emergency.
Cathoic Church institutions across New York have been faced with nearly 3,000 lawsuits so far. had been filed against Catholic institutions in the state under the law.