Priest suspended over alleged ‘80s sex abuse
By Justin Dennis
May 19, 2014
JOHNSTOWN — A Conventual Franciscan priest with the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese has been suspended from public ministry due to allegations of sexual abuse that occurred in the 1980s.
According to a release from the diocese, the Rev. Michael Lewandowski, OFM Conv., has been accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. His duties within the diocese were revoked by Bishop Mark Bartchak upon receipt of a notice from the Franciscan Order detailing the allegations.
Lewandowski had served the diocese since 1997 as pastor of St. Anne Parish in Davidsville.
Parishioners were informed of the allegations during weekend Mass services.
Officials from the Franciscan Order at the Our Lady of the Angels Province in Ellicott City, Maryland, have reported the allegations to authorities, the release states. The diocese and Franciscan Order are unaware of any further sexual misconduct allegations against Lewandowski, according to the release.
“The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the Franciscan Friars are committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse,” the release states. “Anyone who has knowledge of child sexual abuse is urged to report it directly and immediately to the proper state or local authorities.
“The Diocesean Victim’s Advocate may also be contacted at 695-5579.”