Former Priest Again Accused Of Abuse In Lawsuit
By Eric Tichy
December 16, 2020
A former priest previously accused of sexual assault has again been identified in a Child Victims Act lawsuit.
The suit was filed last week in New York State Supreme Court in Chautauqua County. It alleges abuse by the Rev. John D. Lewandowski, who had previously been accused of abuse according to a list released by the Diocese of Buffalo.
The plantiff is identified in the suit as “M.L.”
The male victim was about 14 years old in 1960 when the alleged sexual assault took place during after-school activities at the Boys and Girls Club in Jamestown. Lewandowski reportedly provided services as a priest for the club.
According to the suit, the victim was interested in learning how to wrestle. “Lewandowski provided work and services in which he was given unrestricted and unfettered access to children,” the suit states. “Among other things, Lewandowski was teaching young boys how to wrestle. … Defendants knew or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known that Lewandowski had a propensity for the conduct which caused injury to Plantiff, particularly that Lewandowski had a propensity to engage in the sexual abuse of children.
“On March 20, 2018, the Diocese of Buffalo included Fr. John D. Lewandowski on its list of priests who have been the subject of substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse.”
Lewandowski died in 1982.
“Our greatest concern and top priority every single day at the Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys & Girls Club of Jamestown is the physical safety and emotional well-being of all of our youth members,” said Jeffrey Kroon, executive director of the Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys & Girls Club of Jamestown, in a statement Tuesday. “No child should ever experience abuse of any kind, anywhere. Our hearts go out to all victims of abuse.”
The victim is being represented by the Herman Law Firm of New York City.
“The allegations are that the Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown failed to protect our client from John D. Lewandowski’s grooming and sexual abuse,” attorney Jeff Herman told The Post-Journal. “I am determined to help this brave man share his story and begin the healing process. We are a voice for victims and our sole focus is to help victims heal by giving them a voice through filing a civil suit.”
In another Child Victims Act suit, Lewandowski was said to have abused an individual from about 1962 to 1963 when the victim was about 13 to 14 years old. The assault reportedly took place at the then-Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Jamestown where Lewandowski served.
“Plaintiff was a student and participated in youth activities and/or church activities at Ss. Peter and Paul,” the suit claims. “Plaintiff, therefore, developed great admiration, trust, reverence, and respect for the Roman Catholic Church, including defendants and their agents, including Fr. Lewandowski.”
The suit later adds, “As a direct result of the foregoing, Plaintiff sustained physical, emotional, and psychological injuries, along with the pain and suffering.”