Protest Outside Christ the King Seminary

Calls continue for Bishop Malone to resign

Tom Puckett
August 28, 2019 - 7:32 pm

Demonstrators outside Christ the King Seminary protest and call for Bishop Malone's resignation. August 28, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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East Aurora, NY (WBEN) Just after Father Jeffrey Nowak was placed on administrative leave by Bishop Richard Malone, protesters headed to Christ the King Seminary where Malone was meeting with fellow clergy.

"This diocese is a diocese of blackmail, of corruption, of greed," says Steve Parisi, whose son quit after he claimed he was harassed at the seminary. "He's wanted this since he was in third grade, and for this to happen and all the abuse that was going on in the seminary and the church with the hiding of the priests who have committed crimes, it's heartbreaking." Parisi says it hurts their faith because they trusted priests with their hearts and souls, only for some not to be trusted at all.

Parisi says something has to be done. "There's a lot of investigations going on, maybe force (Bishop Malone's) hand to resign. and then again, letters have been written to Rome. Hopefully they'll hear us and give us the help they need," says Parisi.

Parisi says he still believes in what the church is supposed to stand for.

Another seminarian, Matthew Bojanowski, quit last week, claiming he too was harassed by Nowak. "My son approached the bishop with a whole slew of information," says Marie Bojanowski, Matthew's mother. "Father Nowak did break the seal of confession and released his name." 

Marie points to a party where sexual harassment is alleged to have taken place. "The pizza party they had, the disgusting comments, in my opinion it's a grooming party. They want to see who they can groom and who they can't. These two men couldn't be groomed and they didn't want them," claims Bojanowski. She adds seminarians can be thrown out for any reason, or no reason at all.

Whistleblower Siobhan O'Connor is not impressed with Nowak being placed on administrative leave. "It seems more like damage control than anything else. Clearly, the Nowak case has been handled differently, he's been given special exemptions and treatment. I don't think it's fair to other priests placed on administrative leave," says O'Connor.

O'Connor says Malone talks a good talk about transparency, but "we really don't know. He talks about levels of abuse on different terms. He doesn't have the leadership to continue shepherding the diocese," says O'Connor. "We believe Malone is part of the problem. Even seeing pictures of him, hearing his voice, knowing he's not doing what he's supposed to be doing, is damaging trust in the office of the bishop, so if he were no longer to be bishop, this would be a positive change for the people."

She says the diocese is contemplating filing for bankruptcy. O'Connor hopes that does not happen. "That would be a cowardly attempt to avoid the discovery phase. There are also going to be new survivors coming out with their stories. They're being given a platform the church unfortunately is not giving them," says O'Connor.

For those who still have faith in Malone, O'Connor says, "I realize they're not convinced by all the facts, but I can only tell them as someone who knows him inside and out, he is not the man he portrays himself as. He tell you what you want to hear, but he's not following through on those promises," says O'Connor.

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