Ellicottville Priest Accused of Abuse, Put on Leave
By Tom Dinki
Olean Times Herald
September 25, 2018
An Ellicottville priest has been suspended by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo for an allegation of abuse.
Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone placed the Rev. Ronald Mierzwa on administrative leave after receiving an abuse complaint against Mierzwa, the diocese announced Monday.
Mierzwa has been pastor of Holy Name of Mary Church in Ellicottville since 1994. A call to Mierzwa at the church office was not immediately returned.
The diocese did not provide details on the complaint, including what is alleged to have happened and when it allegedly happened.
However, Mierzwa was the unnamed priest WKBW TV previously reported was accused by a woman in 2002 of making her sons “parade around in their underwear,” the news station revealed Monday. WKBW reported the allegation in its Sept. 12 story on Malone’s handling of sexual abuse complaints against clergy, but it did not name Mierzwa at the time.
It’s not clear whether that allegation is the same allegation that led to Mierzwa being put on leave.
Mierzwa, who was ordained in 1976, is now one of several active priests to be suspended since March when Malone identified a list of 42 priests who were removed from ministry, retired or left ministry after allegations they sexually abused a minor.
Mierzwa is also now just one of several priests with local ties to be accused of abuse.
Among those 42 priests identified by Malone, more than a third served throughout Cattaraugus and Allegany counties at some point in their careers. At least five had direct connections to Olean through the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and Archbishop Walsh Academy.
It was an admission by a former St. Mary’s priest and Walsh teacher that started the diocese’s current sexual abuse scandal, as the Rev. Norbert Orsolits admitted to The Buffalo News in February that he sexually abused “probably dozens” of teenage boys during the late 1970s and early 1980s.