Sept. 5, 2019
By Hemant Mehta
One of the standard lines we hear from Catholic leaders dismissive of the sexual abuse scandal is that all the bad stuff happened a long time ago. Of course that’s not true. There are still abusive priests, there are still victims, and there are still bishops looking the other way.
But the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team in Buffalo recently got ahold of audio recordings showing just how the Church’s internal deliberations work… or, I should say, don’t.
The incident in question begins with seminarian Matthew Bojanowski. He was studying to become a priest, but he caught the eye of Rev. Jeffrey Nowak, pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Cheektowaga.
Nowak began pursuing Bojanowski in 2016, when the younger man was considering the priesthood. Using information Bojanowski said in confessional (!), Nowak began pushing for a relationship. At one point, Nowak even sent the young man a Facebook message saying — wait for it — “When you become a priest, you will be what we call clerical eye candy.”
It soon became clear to Nowak that Bojanowski wasn’t interested. And then things got worse. Bojanowski later referred to “many months of revenge and retaliation by Father Nowak.”
Last November, Bojanowski informed Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Diocese of Buffalo of the issue. He also offered a written complaint and plenty of documentation of what Nowak did. In other words, there was ample evidence for Malone to take action.
But nothing happened. Making matters worse, Nowak began to think there was something going on between Bojanowski and Rev. Ryszard Biernat, the secretary for the Diocese, which led him to retaliate even more.
And yet Malone just sat on this information for months.
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