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As Diocese places priest on leave, abuse advocate tells bishop "reveal or resign"

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo on Monday announced it has placed a priest on administrative leave, one day after a published report revealed that priest had been accused in 1995 of sexually abusing a then teenaged girl. Meanwhile, a New Jersey-based advocacy group representing victims of alleged past abuse turned up pressure on Bishop Richard Malone, demanding he release all information on abuse cases or step down.

Father Fabian Maryanski, who was most recently serving as a retired assistant priest at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Clarence, was identified Sunday by the Buffalo News article in an article where an unidentified woman accuses the priest of abusing her 23 years ago.

The Diocese, in a brief statement announcing their action, explained that Father Maryanski was being placed on leave "for the purpose of reopening the previous investigation" and added that the move does not imply any determination of truth or falsity of the complaint.

Meanwhile Monday morning, across the street from the Diocese of Buffalo's downtown headquarters on Main Street, Dr. Robert Hoatson returned to once again speak out critically of diocesan efforts to address past abuses. This time, the head of the group Road to Recovery raised the organization's pressure on Bishop Richard Malone. The large sign he held said it in three words: "Reveal or Resign."

"The Catholics of the Buffalo Diocese deserve better," Hoatson said. "We now know, through at least the last four or five bishops, there has been a massive cover-up of child sexual abuse. Not just by diocesan priests and deacons but also religious priests and perhaps other employees of the diocese. Unfortunately, though, we don't know because we're never told the truth."

In 2000, Father Maryanski was appointed a parochial vicar at the St. Phillip the Apostle parish in Cheektowaga and then became pastor at St. Andrew's parish in Sloan. He held the latter position until his retirement in 2014.

Maryanski was not among the 42 priests identified by the Diocese of Buffalo earlier this spring in a list of clergy accused of sexual abuse. James Faluszczak, a former priest-turned-advocate, recalled a 2002 communication released by then-Vicar General Monsignor Robert Cunningham that stated 53 priests within the diocese had faced accusations of abuse.

"Now, thanks to a lot of investigation, the courage of many victims and survivors, and also due largely to the efforts of the Buffalo media and folks in the legal community who are representing victims, the reported number as of yesterday is 64," Faluszczak said. 

Diocesan officials including Bishop Malone previously explained that some priests not identified on their own list belonged to religious orders and were under the immediate jurisdiction of the respective orders' leadership. 

Hoatson stated Monday that those order leaders had sought advice from the bishop on how to act.

Credit YouTube
Father Fabian Maryanski celebrating mass at St. Gregory the Great Church in January 2017.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney who represented abuse victims in that archdiocese, released a written statement in response to the allegation lodged against Father Maryanski: "Concerning the sexual abuse allegations against Fr. Fabian J. Maryanski, the Diocese of Buffalo has failed miserably in protecting children because the Diocese did not even timely report the allegations to the police. This is another example of the scope of the cover up by the Diocese of Buffalo."

Late Monday afternoon, Bishop Malone issued his own statement in response to Hoatson's news conference and calls to reveal all or resign: "While these issues of abuse predate my arrival as Bishop of Buffalo in 2012, it has become my responsibility to lead our diocese through the proper handling of abuse from the past. I will continue to do so now and in the future. We have made great strides in regard to protection of young people and the handling of sexual abuse cases, especially since implementing the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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