Southie Priest Steps down after Molestation Charge
By Laurel J. Sweet
October 2, 2001
A century-old Polish parish in South Boston has been rocked by a grown man's allegation that the Rev. Andrzej Sujka molested him when he was a boy, a church official confirmed yesterday.
Sujka, pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa on Dorchester Avenue, resigned over the weekend after Bernard Cardinal Law told him to step down, pending an internal investigation of the charge, said Donna Morrissey, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Boston.
"We have urged (the alleged victim) to go to the proper authorities," Morrissey said.
She said the alleged victim approached the archdiocese "recently" and his claim of abuse was also discussed last week at a parish council and finance meeting. She was unable to say how long ago the alleged misconduct took place.
The Rev. Charles Higgins, the archdiocese's cabinet secretary for ministerial personnel, called the allegation "both shocking and disturbing" in his address to Sujka's former flock at weekend Masses.
He described the alleged victim as "a courageous individual" who "deserves our heartfelt empathy and understanding."
Phil Saviano, spokesman for the New England Chapter of Survivors For Those Abused by Priests, said the alleged victim's latent angst may have been exacerbated by stress over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the country.
"It brings up a lot of feelings where a person would question the level of safety in his life," Saviano said.
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