Fr. Joe Gatto, president of Buffalo Diocese seminary, faces sexual misconduct allegation


September 27, 2018

By Charlie Specht

Confirmed he is taking “leave of absence”

The Rev. Joseph C. Gatto, who runs the seminary for the Diocese of Buffalo, has stepped away from his position as he faces an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Gatto confirmed Thursday morning to I-Team Chief Investigator Charlie Specht that he is taking a “leave of absence” from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, which prepares men for the priesthood in the Buffalo Diocese.

“The pressures of the job, all the things that I’ve been doing — it’s just a temporary thing,” he said in a brief phone interview with 7 Eyewitness News. “I’ve had so many responsibilities. I’m just burned out. I’m just taking some time.”

But 7 Eyewitness News has obtained a copy of a complaint filed Wednesday with the Diocese of Buffalo, in which a local man alleges that in 2000, he went to Gatto for spiritual advice and counseling and the high-profile priest “quickly befriended me, and shortly thereafter made unwanted sexual advances toward me.”

The man said he was in his 20s when the encounter happened, and in the complaint, he added, “On one occasion he [Gatto] grabbed my knee in a suggestive manner, and invited me to a ‘cabin’ for a weekend with him alone. I declined, and ended any further communication.”

Gatto said the diocese had not contacted him about the complaint and denied his leave of absence had anything to do with allegations of sexual misconduct.

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