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Pastor, coordinator of Buffalo's Crime Prevention Initiative charged with sexual abuse

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Omar Fetouh / WBFO News
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In 2012, Rev. Antwan Diggs (at podium) talked about how recovered criminal forfeiture money was used to help his East side church grow.

The coordinator of the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency's Crime Prevention Initiative has been arraigned on sexual abuse charges.

The Erie County District Attorney's office says Antwan Diggs, 50, was arraigned before Buffalo City Court Judge Betty Calvo-Torres. He faces charges of first degree criminal sexual act, first degree sexual abuse - both felonies - and a misdemeanor count of forcible touching.

"It is alleged that on August 19, 2019, at approximately 2:30 p.m., the defendant engaged in sexual conduct with another person by forcible compulsion at the location in the City of Buffalo," according to the DA. "It is further alleged that the defendant forcibly touched the victim and subjected the victim to sexual contact by forcible compulsion."

A no-contact order has been issued on behalf of the victim.

Diggs is scheduled to return to court on Monday. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.

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Credit Peaceprints
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Rev. Antwan Diggs received a Peaceprints Award in 2013.

His biography on the City of Buffalo's website describes Diggs as a Philadelphia native with an Associate's degree from Empire State College, who serves as pastor at Hananiah Lutheran Church in Buffalo. He also supervises youth at the Ss. Columba-Brigid Teen Center Friday and Saturday nights.

It alludes to his own prison history, saying Diggs was "introduced to Buffalo, New York through a prison ministry called Hope House. With over 20 years of continuous sobriety, he uses experiences to help young people learn from his past mistakes."

Diggs' role with BURA's Crime Prevention Initiative is described as successfully introducing "over 1,000 of Buffalo’s youth to community service and leadership development while encouraging them to be partners in the community to bring about a positive change." He "spends the bulk of his time helping young people make the successful transition from adolescence to adulthood."

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.