BUFFALO, NY - Police in Baltimore, Maryland are investigating an allegation that a Roman Catholic priest sexually abused a student while he was teaching at a High School nearly 40 years ago.
However, because that priest also spent considerable time in Western New York, the catholic diocese here is also reaching out to its parishioners, and urging them to come forward with any information they might have.
Father Michael Kolodziej, 69, is a Franciscan Friar who has been suspended from public ministry following the allegations. He most recently served as Vicar of a parish in Jonesboro, Ga.
Kolodziej was ordained as a Priest here in 1970 and was first assigned as a hospital chaplain, while also serving associate pastor and school director at St. Mary of Sorrows Church on Genesee Street.
He then went on to teach at Bishop Turner High School and Villa Maria College from 1971-74.
After going to Baltimore for five years, Kolodziej returned to Western New York, where he was assistant principal at St. Francis High School in Athol Springs from 1979-82, and then Principal at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda before leaving the area again in 1988.
There are no publicly known allegations of sex abuse against Kolodziej in the Buffalo area, however the Buffalo Catholic Diocese is sharing information with parishioners, and issued the following statement:
"The diocese has been made aware of the allegations involving Father Kolodziej while he was a religious order priest serving in the Baltimore Archdiocese. We are now following our diocesan policies to determine whether there are any issues arising from his tenure as a priest of our diocese. We have posted the information on our website and requested anyone with knowledge about Father Kolodziej to contact us."
The Diocese of Springfield Massachusetts, where Father Kolodziej served throughout much of the 1990s is similarly advising parishioners, with a message almost identical to the one issued in Buffalo.
According to a local attorney familiar with sex abuse cases, even if anyone stepped up with an allegation of sex abuse dating back to the 1970's and 80's when Kolodziej served here, New York's statute of limitations on sex abuse crimes, would make it unlikely that he would be criminally prosecuted.
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