Buffalo Diocese quietly removed and paid priest accused of sexual misconduct


May 6, 2020

By Charlie Specht

Memo reveals Fr. Paul Salemi case

Paul Salemi graduated from Christ the King Seminary and became a priest in the Diocese of Buffalo in 2000.

But after serving at churches in Hamburg and Lancaster, and at St. Gregory the Great in Amherst, former Bishop Richard Malone quietly put Salemi on administrative leave in 2012.

Salemi never returned from that leave of absence and moved to the South. But he stayed on the diocesan payroll until last week, when the diocese announced it was removing from its payroll 23 priests with substantiated sexual abuse allegations.

Many parishioners in the last year have reached out to the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team wondering what happened to Fr. Salemi. They say they were told he had an anger problem, but internal documents show Salemi was also accused of sexual misconduct against a young man he met through his duties as a priest.

The most comprehensive account was written by Lawrence Vilardo, who is now a federal judge in Buffalo. In 2012, he was law partners with Terry Connors, longtime lawyer for the diocese, and wrote a memo to Connors that was obtained by the I-Team.

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