Diocese: Sexual abuse allegations lodged against West Newton priest unsubstantiated
October 05, 2019
Allegations of child sexual abuse against a West Newton priest were found to be unsubstantiated during a canonical investigation, according to the Greensburg Diocese.
However, the Rev. Joseph Bonafed, of Monessen, will not return as pastor for Holy Family Parish in West Newton and St. Edward’s Parish in Herminie, diocese officials said.
During the course of a six-month investigation, conducted by an independent diocesan review board, officials said they discovered Bonafed had engaged in “inappropriate conduct in the workplace.”
“In the course of the investigation into child sexual abuse allegations, allegations relating to inappropriate conduct in the workplace, in violation of the Diocesan Pastoral Code of Conduct, were reported and investigated,” the diocese stated in a release.
“After discussion with Father Bonafed and his canonical advocate, Father Bonafed freely resigned his pastorates at St. Edward’s Parish in Herminie and Holy Family Parish in West Newton, and will be taking a leave of absence,” officials said.
Bonafed was removed from his roles last year after allegations of inappropriate contact were made. Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck, in December, said the statute of limitations had passed, and declined to press criminal charges in the matter.
The canonical investigation, which reviewed his conducted as it pertains to church law, followed.
Bishop Edward C. Malesic presented details of the investigation to two other independent boards made up of clergy, lay experts, law enforcement, a human resources manager and a clinical psychologist, the diocese said in a release.
Each of the boards recommended to Malesic that Bonafed not resume pastoral ministry.
The press release from the diocese did not give specifics of the findings against Bonafed.
Bonafed previously served as parochial vicar of St. Therese, Little Flower of Jesus in Uniontown, from 1995 to 1998, pastor of Immaculate Conception and administrator of St. John the Evangelist and St. Rita in Connellsville from 2009 to 2012. He became pastor of Holy Family and St. Edward July 6, 2017, along with residence in St. Edward rectory.