Erie Catholic Diocese priest placed on administrative leave
May 18, 2019
Monsignor Charles Kaza facing allegations of sexual abuse of a minor while serving at Erie’s St. John the Baptist Parish in 1980s.
The Catholic Diocese of Erie has placed Monsignor Charles Kaza, pastor of St. Tobias Parish in Brockway, on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations Kaza sexually abused a minor, Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico announced Saturday.
The abuse is alleged to have taken place while Kaza was serving at St. John the Baptist Parish in Erie in the 1980s, Persico said.
Kaza, who also serves as president of the DuBois Central Catholic School Board, was placed on administrative leave, effective May 13, after the state Attorney General’s Office forwarded the sexual abuse allegation to the Catholic Diocese of Erie and its independent investigators at the K&L Gates law firm.
Kaza is cooperating with the investigation, Persico said in a news release issued Saturday.
During the investigation, Kaza will not be in residence at St. Tobias Parish; he will be living at a private home with family.
In accordance with its Policy for the Protection of Children, the Catholic Diocese of Erie is cooperating with the state Attorney General’s Office and the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. K&L Gates also is continuing to conduct its investigation.
Anyone with information related to the case is asked to contact the state Attorney General’s Office at 1-888-538-8541 and K&L Gates at ErieRCD@klgates.com.
Persico has named the Rev. Leo Gallina as temporary administrator or St. Tobias Parish. Gallina will be in residence at the parish beginning May 28.
Persico in April 2018 released the first version of the Catholic Diocese of Erie’s list of clergy and laypeople credibly accused of sexual abuse and other misconduct with minors. The list started with 51 names. Persico last updatedit in early April, adding five new names to bring the total up to 81, excluding 11 more people the diocese was investigating at the time.
Allegations against Kaza are being investigated, and his name is not on the list of those credibly accused of abuse or other misconduct with minors.
“Msgr. Kaza is cooperating with the investigation and is presumed innocent unless proven guilty,” Persico’s statement said.
The diocese since around 2016 has spent more than $4 million by having K&L Gates, of Pittsburgh, investigate claims of abuse. The firm also worked with the diocese to respond to requests from the grand jury, which in August released its report on clergy sexual abuse throughout Pennsylvania.