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As CVA floodgates open, more WNY priests named as alleged abusers

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James Faluszczak
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More priests affiliated with the Buffalo Catholic Diocese are being publicly accused of sexually abusing children. Five members of the clergy – three living and two deceased – are among those newly named in lawsuits filed Wednesday, as New York’s Child Victims Act one-year lookback window went into effect.

Those living include:

  • Fr. Paul Nogaro – current pastor of Saint Stevens in Grand Island – is alleged to have sexually molested a male student at St. Mary of Sorrows Church and School in the early 1970s.
  • Fr. Peter Popadick – currently serving at Saint Aloysius Gonzaga in Buffalo – is alleged to have sexually molested a male student at Bishop Fallon High School in the mid-70s.
  • Franklin Tuchols – no longer in active ministry – is alleged to have sexually molested an individual at St. Mary Sorrows Church, and at multiple locations including then-St. John Vianney Seminary, as well as various church and private residences. are three living priests accused of sexually abusing children.

The deceased include:

  • Fr. Edwin Fagowski, alleged to have sexually molested an individual at St. Benedict Church in Bennington, New York.
  • Msgr. Joseph Gambino, alleged to have sexually molested an individual at Holy Cross Church in Buffalo.

James Faluszczak, a former priest and victim of clergy abuse, announced the names on Wednesday morning. Faluszczak has been working with three law firms in developing the cases, and said he understands why it can take so long for victims to step forward.

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Credit James Faluszczak
James Faluszczak

“You have so many hurdles of the memories and there’s almost a muscle memory, a body memory, or a brain memory. It affects you in your body,” Faluszczak said. “And with the folks that I work with, it affects them on a physical level.”

Faluszczak announced the firms were also filing suit against the Diocese of Buffalo over alleged abuse by priests previously named publicly – Fathers Michael Freeman, Gerald Green, Brian Hatrick, Bernard Mach, and William Ward.

“We’re seeking discovery of what files the Diocese of Buffalo has related to these priests, who among the current or former workers within the Catholic Center…may have known about these matters because they were priest personnel directors or secretaries,” Faluszczak explained.

On Friday Afternoon, the Catholic Diocese responded, saying in a written statement that it respects the litigation process and will respond accordingly.

“All new allegations received today will be examined and investigated in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and the Policies of the Diocese of Buffalo, and appropriate action will be taken as required,” said a Diocesan Spokesperson.

The Diocese also posted a video message from Bishop Richard Malone regarding the Child Victims Act.

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“So many cases of abuse occurred decades ago. Yet I know, from my own meetings with victim-survivors, that their pain and despair is ever-present in their daily lives,” said Malone. “I continue to pray that victim-survivors achieve as much healing and wholeness as possible. It is my hope that the Child Victims Act will go a long way toward the justice they so deeply deserve.”

Malone said he wants to assure the public that children within the church are safe, and that the Diocese follows best practices for protecting them, established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, 427 lawsuits had been filed under the Child Victims Act. In addition to the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and the estate of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein are among the defendants facing lawsuits.

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