Priest Steps down after Allegations of Molestation

Associated Press State & Local Wire
October 2, 2001

The Archdiocese of Boston said the pastor of a century-old Polish parish in the city's South Boston neighborhood has resigned in the wake of an allegation of sexual abuse.

Donna Morrissey, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said the Rev. Andrzej Sujka, 51, pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa on Dorchester Avenue, was told by Cardinal Bernard Law over the weekend to step down pending an internal investigation of the charge.

Morrissey said a parishioner has accused Sujka of molesting him when he was a boy.

"We have urged (the alleged victim) to go to the proper authorities," Morrissey said.

Morrissey was unable to say how long ago the alleged misconduct occurred.

She also said the archdiocese, in cooperation with the Franciscan order, removed Sujka "from all active priestly ministry."

"All allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor are taken seriously, for this is our moral responsibility," Morrissey said.

The church's parishioners were informed of the reason for Sujka's removal by the Rev. Charles Higgins, a church official who addressed masses last weekend.

Higgins, the archdiocese cabinet secretary for ministerial personnel, called the allegations "both shocking and disturbing," and described the alleged victim as "a courageous individual" who "deserves our heartfelt empathy and understanding."

Morrissey said that the alleged victim went to the archdiocese with the allegations, and his claims were discussed last week at a parish council and financial meeting.

The Archdiocese has been criticized for insensitivity in responding to previous allegations of sexual abuse by clergy.

Sujka has served at the South Boston church since the mid-1980's. The South Boston church is a Polish national parish which is administered by a branch of the Franciscan order called the Conventuals.


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