BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Three priests have been placed on leave in response to claims in a lawsuit filed last month that they sexually abused a boy in the 1990s, the Diocese of Buffalo announced Saturday.
Bishop Michael Fisher said the priests all “deny ever committing any acts of abuse” but were placed on leave pending an investigation.
The diocese also notified the Erie County District Attorney’s Office of the claims, which emerged in a lawsuit last month.
Placed on leave were the Revs. Adolph Kowalczyk, pastor of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Orchard Park; Mieczyslaw “Matt” Nycz, pastor of SS. Peter and Paul in Williamsville; and Gregory Dobson, who is retired but continues to assist in various parishes of the diocese.
“Bishop Fisher wishes to emphasize that the decision to place the priests on administrative leave at this time is in no way intended to indicate their guilt or any determination about the truth or falsity of the complaint,” the diocese said in a statement.
The lawsuit was filed by an Erie County man who had been a student at Sacred Heart School at the time of the alleged abuse, the Buffalo News reported.
The man claims the priests “coerced him to engage in sexual contact with other underage female students,” which the priests filmed.
The alleged abuse occurred on school grounds and in “the confessional rooms,” according to the lawsuit.