Alleged harassment, love letter at center of latest diocese scandal

Buffalo News

Sept. 4, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Bishop Richard J. Malone maintained Wednesday that he still had the support of the majority of Buffalo Diocese priests and parishioners and would not step down in the midst of another scandal — this one centered around his handling of a love letter from a priest to a seminarian and another priest’s alleged harassment of the same seminarian.

“I’m here because I feel an obligation as the one who was sent here to lead this diocese, to carry on, and once again, if I thought that the majority of Catholic people in particular were calling for my resignation, that would be a different story,” he said. “But I don’t feel that. I go out to parishes and schools all the time for visits. I am always well received when I go … I do feel enough support, honestly, to continue on.”

The diocese has been embroiled in a wider Catholic Church crisis involving allegations of clergy sexual abuse of children and adults, with several prominent Catholics calling on Malone to resign over his handling of the issue.

Passage of the Child Victims Act in New York, which allows victims a one-year look-back window to file lawsuits over abuse from decades ago, brought the scandal back into the headlines in August and renewed criticism of Malone.

The issue that led to Malone’s first news conference since last November centered on a love letter from the Rev. Ryszard Biernat to a seminarian, Matthew Bojanowski, and the Rev. Jeffrey Nowak’s alleged harassment of Bojanowski.

Malone can be heard in secretly recorded audio calling the crisis over a “love triangle” involving priests a “disaster” that could force him to resign.

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