Two Long Island Priests Step Down While Under Investigation for Alleged Sex Abuse
By Chris Boyle
October 2, 2018
Diocese of Rockville Centre and Nassau and Suffolk District Attorneys looking into allegations against two members of the clergy, officials say.
Two Long Island-based Catholic priests recently agreed to step down from their posts and away from the ministry after both were revealed to be under investigation for alleged sex abuse incidents, according to reports.
Reverend Monsignor William Breslawski, a former pastor at Church of Saint Anthony of Padua in Rocky Point, received complaints issued to both the Nassau and Suffolk County District Attorney Offices in June that he had allegedly sexually abused a middle school child in 1980, in addition to having "inappropriate interactions” with two adults in 1984.
In addition, the complaint was also later presented to Diocese of Rockville Centre, which has launched an investigation of their own into the allegations against Breslawski and released a statement, in which they expressed a desire to get to the bottom of what happened.
“We are saddened by these allegations,” the Diocese said. “We will do everything we can to ensure that a fair and just determination is made.”
The complaints were made by someone claiming to be a relative of the alleged victim, officials say.
Before serving at Church of Saint Anthony of Padua, Breslawski held a pastoral role at Church of Our Lady of Peace in Lynbrook, Church of the Holy Cross in Nesconset, Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst and Church of Saint Catherine of Sienna in Franklin Square.
Breslawski’s investigation marks the second time this month that a Long Island priest has come under scrutiny for suspicion of sex crimes; earlier in September Father Brian J. Brinker, who has been serving as a chaplain at Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center in West Islip, also stepped down from his post after allegations that he abused a young person in the 1990’s surfaced.
In a statement, the Diocese of Rockville Centre noted that they had looked into the claims in 2002 and found no evidence of sexual abuse at the time, despite noting that Brinker had exercised “questionable judgment in his interactions with the youth in question.” However, new complaints submitted to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office have resulted in a second investigation on the part of the Diocese.
The Catholic Church has come under scrutiny recently after a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report in August of this year alleged that over 1,000 children had been allegedly molested or raped by over 300 priests in six of the state’s eight dioceses over the course of seven decades, and accused Church officials of working to cover the incidents up and discourage investigations by authorities.
The shocking revelations have prompted several other states – including New York State – to launch investigations of their own into alleged abuse by members of the clergy. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced earlier this month the creation of a new abuse hotline and online complaint form as part of her office’s investigation into possible sexual abuse within the New York dioceses of the Catholic Church.
“The Pennsylvania grand jury report shined a light on incredibly disturbing and depraved acts by Catholic clergy, assisted by a culture of secrecy and cover ups in the dioceses. Victims in New York deserve to be heard as well – and we are going to do everything in our power to bring them the justice they deserve,” she said. “I urge all victims and anyone else with information to contact our hotline. And make no mistake: the only way that justice can fully and truly be served is for the legislature to finally pass the Child Victims Act.”