Diocese of Buffalo Whistleblower Exposes Handling of Misconduct Allegations Against Clergy

ABC News as well as local affiliate WKBW recently published their latest story in the ongoing reporting of how sexual abuse and harassment allegations against clergy are handled in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

The latest report details recordings made by a second whistleblower who has come forward due to concerns over Bishop Richard Malone and information he concealed regarding misconduct allegations made against a parish pastor within the Diocese of Buffalo.

The whistleblower is Fr. Ryszard Biernat, who served as Bishop Malone’s secretary and diocesan vice chancellor.  Fr. Biernat is represented by attorney Barry Covert.  Mr. Covert provided comment for stories published by ABC News and WKBW 7 Eyewitness News.

As reported by ABC News and WKBW, Fr. Biernat was compelled to begin recording meetings with Bishop Richard Malone due to the way he addressed misconduct and sexual harassment allegations made against Fr. Jeffrey Nowak. Fr. Nowak served as pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians, a parish in the Buffalo Diocese. Allegations against Fr. Nowak were made by a seminarian within the Diocese of Buffalo, Matthew Bojanowski. Mr. Bojanowski is also represented by Barry Covert.

Then-seminarian Matthew Bojanowski made the Diocese of Buffalo aware of the sexual harassment he endured by Fr. Jeffrey Nowak in November 2018 and January 2019. However, Fr. Nowak remained an active parish pastor until August 2019. In ABC News’ report, Mr. Covert states “The diocese was told that an active priest was stalking, retaliating against, taking various immoral measures against a seminarian. Once again, they did nothing to protect parishioners from someone who Bishop Malone clearly felt was an abusive priest.”

Fr. Ryszard Biernat recorded meetings with Bishop Richard Malone from March to August 2019. In an interview with WKBW’s Charlie Specht, Fr. Biernat asks that Bishop Malone please resign.

Click here to read the full report from ABC News and click here to read the full report from WKBW 7 Eyewitness News. The stories include details on:

  • Allegations of harassment and misconduct that Fr. Jeffrey Nowak committed against seminarian Matthew Bojanowski
  • The timeline of when Bishop Richard Malone was first notified of Fr. Jeffrey Nowak’s misconduct and when the Diocese to any action to address the misconduct
  • Recorded meetings, which reveal Bishop Malone’s assessment of Fr. Jeffrey Nowak
  • Concerns the Diocese of Buffalo had over the its handling of the public becoming aware of how it handled the alleged harassment against seminarian Matthew Bojanowski

For more information on the legal rights of whistleblowers as well as for questions on abuse claims against the Diocese of Buffalo, contact Barry Covert at 716 849 1333, ext. 365 or via e-mail at bcovert@lglaw.com.