Former Bishop Trautman, Erie Diocese Named in Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit, Accused of Maintaining a Coverup
Erie News Now
January 2, 2020
A clergy sex abuse survivor who testified before a Pennsylvania grand jury and attorney who is an abuse survivor announced the Diocese of Erie and former Bishop Donald Trautman are being sued in a child sex abuse case in New York.
James Faluszczak, abuse survivor, former priest and whistleblower before the 40th Pennsylvania Grand Jury, and Paul Barr who has represented injured victims on the Niagara Frontier and is an abuse survivor himself, detailed the case Thursday morning in front of St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo.
Father Gerard Smyczynski reportedly abused a child in 1980s while Bishop Trautman was Vicar General of the Buffalo Diocese.
Bishop Trautman allegedly knew about the abuse, and the Buffalo Diocese is accused of paying a small sum of money in a legal settlement and fast-tracking an annulment to keep it under wraps.
The lawsuit alleges Trautman maintained a coverup of alleged abuse in Buffalo during his time with the Erie Diocese.
When the Diocese of Buffalo and Bishop Richard Malone published an incomplete list of abuser priests in March 2018, they left out the timing and nature of alleged abuse, preventing the community from knowing about Fr. Smyczynski's propensity to abuse children, according to Faluszczak and Barr.
Both are calling on the Dioceses of Buffalo and Erie to encourage priest witnesses to cooperate in these cases.
The Erie Diocese released the following statement to Erie News Now Thursday afternoon:
The Diocese of Erie learned this morning that it has been named in a lawsuit filed about activities that allegedly took place in the Diocese of Buffalo before Bishop Emeritus Donald Trautman was named as the bishop of Erie in 1990. Bishop Lawrence Persico has seen a copy of the suit, but the diocese has not been served. As with any litigation, Bishop Persico will cooperate, but will not comment during the legal process.