Former Buffalo Diocese chancery official put on leave a second time following additional abuse claim

Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

March 15, 2023

By Jay Tokasz

Bishop Michael W. Fisher has put a Cheektowaga pastor on administrative leave for a second time after an additional claim of child sexual abuse was made against the priest.

The diocese received a recent “proof of claim” alleging abuse by Monsignor Peter J. Popadick, pastor of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish, according to diocese spokesman Joseph Martone.

Popadick was removed from ministry in 2019 due to a previous allegation in a Child Victims Act lawsuit and reinstated four months later after a diocese investigation and a review board examination of the claim.

Attorney Edward C. Cosgrove, who defended Popadick in the previous accusation, said he believes the priest again will be cleared.

“I would expect that this highly questionable claim that has been filed in bankruptcy court will be resolved in Monsignor Popadick’s favor very soon,” said Cosgrove

Martone said the most recent claim alleged abuse from more than 20 years ago.

Popadick is prohibited from performing any priestly functions and wearing clerical garb, pending the results of an investigation into the most recent allegation.

The proof of claim regarding the alleged abuse was filed in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, more than a year after a court-ordered deadline for such submissions. The diocese’s policies and procedures dictate that clergy accused of abuse be put on administrative leave while claims are investigated.

The diocese gave no other details about the most recent claim against Popadick.

Ordained in 1970, Popadick taught at the former Bishop Fallon High School, served as chaplain at the former St. Francis Hospital and has served at Ascension in North Tonawanda, Our Lady of Angels in Cuba, Sacred Heart in Friendship and St. Mark’s in Rushford.

He spent 23 years as secretary to Bishop Edward D. Head and Head’s successor Bishop Henry J. Mansell before his appointment in 1997 as pastor of St. Aloysius.

A 2019 Child Victims Act lawsuit alleged that Popadick and three other priests sexually abused a teenage boy. The lawsuit claimed that Popadick molested the boy in 1973 and 1974 in the gym showers at Fallon High School after tennis practice. The unnamed plaintiff is now in his mid-60s and lives in Erie County.

A diocese review board recommended returning Popadick to ministry in 2020 after the plaintiff declined to be interviewed by an investigator regarding claims made in the lawsuit. The man’s attorney told The News that his client didn’t cooperate because he doesn’t trust the