Victims: Church Still Ignoring Us

By Gregg M. Miliote
The Herald News [Fall River MA]
October 31, 2003

FALL RIVER -- The man who initiated the investigation into sexual abuse allegations against former St. Stanislaus Church Pastor Robert S. Kaszynski is hoping to finally get his chance to sit down with diocesan leadership and is passing out a petition aimed at removing a plaque from the church grounds dedicated in Kaszynskiís honor.

But according to the Diocese of Fall River, the plaque was removed shortly after the matter was brought to its attention late last month.

Paul Krupa, who said he witnessed Kaszynski abuse four young girls during the 1960s and 1970s, also says he has been ignored by Bishop George W. Coleman.

Krupa said he has sent numerous letters and placed several phone calls to the diocese about setting up a meeting with Kaszynski, Coleman and the victims, but has been ignored.

"The bishop is stonewalling us again. They have to realize they have to do something," Krupa said. "The church is back in its old style of ignoring things until they just go away."

Krupaís petition mainly focuses on the plaque honoring the former church leader and requests that Dr. Irving Fradkin remove Kaszynskiís name from his "Book of Living Heroes" presented to the mayor last year.

Fradkin did not return calls for comment Thursday afternoon.

The plaque, which has been removed, was erected in 1978 and dedicated in honor "of its beloved and eloquent spiritual leader Reverend Robert S. Kaszynski."

The engraved plaque reads, "Known to so many affectionately as ĎFather Kí who was instrumental in the acquisition of this land and the completion of the grotto and grounds. From his hands to ours and into the hands of the generations of Godís faithful yet unborn we confer this legacy of love."

Krupa said while attending a ceremony on Sept. 11, he came across the brass commemorative plaque and it made him sick.

"Just seeing that really, really bothered me and I know itís bothered others," Krupa said. "I knew I had to do something, because this plaque needed to be removed."

A Sept. 24 letter sent by Krupa to St. Stanislaus Rev. Bruce Neylon apparently spurred the diocese on to remove the plaque from the church grotto.

Diocesan spokesman John Kearns said the plaque was removed days after it was brought to Neylonís attention.

Krupa has garnered "a handful" of signatures thus far, including one by the woman who made the first public allegation of sexual molestation against Kaszynski.

Joyce Nebush, a former Fall River and Westport resident who now lives in Utica, N.Y., came forward last June to tell her story of abuse.

Nebush said the abuses began during her freshman year when Kaszynski allegedly asked her to sit on his lap in the rectory. The incidents apparently progressed from that point for the next three years, she said.

Nebush was issued an apology from the diocese and Kaszynski finally resigned in March 2002 after another private sexual molestation allegation surfaced. He is currently living in Westport.

Kaszynski was also named by the Bristol County District Attorneyís Office as one of 21 local priests believed to have sexually molested children, but he could not be prosecuted on the accusations because the statute of limitations on the cases had expired.

Krupa and others have been actively attempting to have Kaszynski defrocked, but have not been able to take the first step towards closure through a meeting with diocesan leaders.

Nebush, like Krupa, has undergone intensive therapy in an attempt to heal, but Krupa said it will never be enough until the church allows all the victims to sit down with Kaszynski and the bishop.

"Itís just scandalous whatís going on here," Krupa said. "I went to counseling for observing all these abuses as a child. Iím an abuse victim in my own right. Someone needs to talk with us."

Kearns said he did not know if Coleman would meet with Krupa at this time, an answer Krupa said he expected.

"The bishop is just playing down the issue again. Itís obvious that the church culture has still not changed," Krupa added. "Yes, Iím very angry and bitter about what happened, but the church just continues to lie to and ignore us."


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