Bishop Accountability

Fall River Resources – July 2002

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DA's office interviews priest's accuser

By Steve Urbon
(New Bedford MA) Standard-Times
July 2, 2002

[Photo Caption - Joyce Nebush of Utica, N.Y., says Fall River priest Robert S. Kaszynski molested her for years in the 1960s while he was pastor of St. Stanislaus Church in Fall River. Bill Belknap//Standard-Times special]

NEW BEDFORD -- The woman who last month accused Fall River priest Robert S. Kaszynski of molesting her for years as a teen-ager in the 1960s met yesterday with an investigator in the office of the Bristol County district attorney.

The meeting followed an apology to the woman, Joyce (Chrupcala) Nebush of Utica, N.Y., by Bishop Sean P. O'Malley, dated June 26. In the letter, the bishop of Fall River said of the now-retired Rev. Kaszynski, "His actions have been a great source of pain for all of us."

"As Bishop of Fall River," Bishop O'Malley wrote, "I wish to express to you my sincere sorrow for the suffering and anguish you experienced as a young woman resulting from the abuse caused by the misconduct of the Reverend Robert S. Kasynzski. That suffering and anguish, doubtless, continues to have an effect on your life."

The diocese previously insisted that the Rev. Kaszynski's resignation after allegations earlier this year was not an admission of any wrongdoing.

Mrs. Nebush returned to the area on Sunday to attend a Boston-area meeting of people who have been abused, to visit family, and sit down for about an hour with the district attorney's representative in New Bedford. She said little about the meeting except that she was told Rev. Kaszynski is likely to be interviewed soon, as well. The statute of limitations has expired on any offenses committed in the 1960s, but it is diocesan policy to report all allegations to the district attorney, whose office has refused to comment on such matters.

Mrs. Nebush, who is New York state spokeswoman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said she is interested in starting a similar support group in the Fall River area if she gets enough inquiries.

The bishop's letter, forwarded to Mrs. Nebush through her Boston attorney, Courtney B. Pillsbury, reminded Mrs. Nebush that the bishop authorized payment for her counseling, and that "I hope that through counseling, prayer, and the support of friends and family you may be able to regain a sense of peace and tranquility."

The Rev. Kaszynski, he wrote, "has expressed his regrets to me. I hope that he will soon do so to you and your family."

Mrs. Nebush said she has not seen or spoken to the Rev. Kaszynski since he offered the funeral Mass for her father about a decade ago. No one has answered the door at repeated visits to the Rev. Kaszynski's tidy home on Drift Road in Westport, which he has owned since 1996.

"Since my arrival in the Diocese of Fall River," the bishop wrote, "I have endeavored to ensure the safety of children in our parishes and institutions. I shall continue this process in the hope that the suffering you have experienced will not be endured by a child again."

Several other women who allege abuse by the Rev. Kaszynski during his 40 years as pastor of St. Stanislaus Church in Fall River have been more reticent than Mrs. Nebush. But it was their cases, not Mrs. Nebush's, that were brought to the attention of the diocese earlier this year by a former classmate, Paul Krupa of Assonet. Mrs. Nebush's charges were made independently, first in an upstate New York newspaper and then in Bristol County. The other accusers have not gone public, but rather are communicating with the attorney for the diocese through their attorney, Edward Pietnik of Raynham.

Mr. Krupa said last month that his motivation for testifying about the alleged abuse was partly to help clear his conscience and make amends for not reporting earlier about the things he witnessed as a fellow parishioner, friend and student at St. Stanislaus School.

The Rev. Kaszynski resigned immediately when confronted with Mr. Krupa's allegations, and although he no longer has an assignment, he remains a priest and continues to have many supporters within the parish.


Bishop Accountability © 2003