Advice Asked in Sex Claim Tied to Priest Police Unable to Quiz Man on Allegation

By Lou Michel
Buffalo News
December 30, 1993

West Seneca police were unable Wednesday to interview a severely retarded man who claims he was sexually abused several years ago by the Rev. John R. Aurelio.

Police are seeking the advice of the Erie County district attorney's office on what to do next.

Two detectives visited West Seneca Developmental Center for the interview, which was not held because no mental-health professional was available to assist.

But detectives learned the allegation, reported Tuesday by Raymond J. Janicke, chief of safety and security services at the center, dates back more than five years -- beyond the statute of limitations for prosecuting criminal charges, according to Capt. Russ Anderson, of the West Seneca Police Department's Detective Bureau.

Because of the mental condition of the unidentified man, Anderson said, verifying the allegation would be difficult.

Shortly after a Lockport couple filed a civil lawsuit alleging that the Rev. Bernard M. Mach sexually abused their son in 1991, Father Aurelio admitted to Niagara County law enforcement officials he and his longtime friend, Father Mach, had participated in acts of sodomy with three adolescent boys 15 to 20 years ago in a house the priests had shared in East Aurora.

Father Aurelio made the admission after law enforcement officials said the two priests could not be charged with any crimes in those cases because the statute of limitations had expired.

Father Aurelio, 56, was the Catholic chaplain at West Seneca Developmental Center from March 1969 to June 1986.

He could not be reached Wednesday to comment. An official of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo said the diocese has no plans to investigate the latest allegation.


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