City Man Alleges Past Abuse at Local Church
By John Whittaker
October 8, 2019
A Jamestown man is alleging he was sexually abused by a priest at Ss. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Jamestown.
According to documents filed Monday in state Supreme Court in Erie County, the Jamestown man is alleging that Father John Lewandowski sexually abused the boy during his time as a priest at Ss. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church.
The allegations are one of four contained in the lawsuit.
Lewandowski had previously been identified by the Diocese of Buffalo as a priest who had been accused of child sexual abuse. He died in 1982, according to Jeff Anderson and Associates.
The Jamestown man, represented by James R. Marsh of White Plains, states in the lawsuit that he was abused by Lewandowski when the man was 13 and 14 years of age when the youth and his parents were parishioners of Ss. Peter and Paul. The lawsuit alleges Lewandowski gained the youth’s trust before sexually molesting the youth several times, including incidents that allegedly took place in the church’s basement.
Marsh alleges in the lawsuit that diocese officials knew or should have known Lewandowski was a known child sex abuser and that diocese and church officials concealed the abuse.
The youth suffered emotional and psychological distress and personal physical injury, the lawsuit states.
“Upon information and belief, the Diocese and Saint Peter and Paul, their agents, servants, and employees, concealed the sexual abuse of children by Father Lewandowski in order to conceal their own bad acts in failing to protect children from him, to protect their reputation, and to prevent victims of such sexual abuse by him from coming forward during the extremely limited statute of limitations prior to the enactment of the CVA, despite knowing that Father Lewandowski would continue to molest children,” the lawsuit states.
Ss. Peter and Paul was the subject of another claim in September that Father Mark M. Friel had abused a Jamestown youth when the teen was 17 and 18 years of age. The lawsuit alleges Friel assaulted and committed battery to the child in the rectory of Ss. Peter and Paul from roughly Jan. 1, 1985, through the end of December 1986, with the assault and battery allegedly constituting sexual offenses under the state’s Penal Law.