“Bishop Richard J. Malone maintained Wednesday that he still had the support of the majority of Buffalo Diocese priests and parishioners and would not step down in the midst of another scandal — this one centered around his handling of a love letter from a priest to a seminarian and another priest’s alleged harassment of the same seminarian…
In 2018, Siobhan O’Connor, the bishop’s former administrative assistant, copied and then leaked reams of diocese documents, including internal emails, memos and letters, showing how Malone handled sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior allegations against two priests.
This time, Biernat recorded audio of what Malone assumed were private and confidential conversations. Biernat, the bishop’s secretary since 2013, secretly recorded Malone Aug. 2 at the bishop’s residence, WKBW-TV reported.
Bojanowski, who recently withdrew from Christ the King Seminary in Aurora, has accused the diocese of ignoring his complaints alleging inappropriate conduct by Nowak, including sexual harassment and violating the seal of confession after Bojanowski received the Catholic sacrament with Nowak as his confessor.
Nowak also found in Bojanowski’s Boston apartment a handwritten letter dated July 13, 2016, from Biernat, in which the bishop’s secretary professes his love for the seminarian. Nowak photographed the letter without Bojanowski’s permission.
Malone put Nowak on administrative leave on Aug. 28.
Malone calls Nowak a ‘sick puppy,’ a ‘perpetrator’ and ‘dangerous’ at various times in the audio recordings, which date back to March.
Malone backed away from those descriptions on Wednesday — saying he used those terms casually and out of frustration with Nowak and would have spoken more carefully in a formal situation.
Critics said the audio recordings show that the bishop failed to remove Nowak promptly as pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians in Cheektowaga, despite knowing the priest potentially could harm other people.
Malone said that Nowak and Bojanowski had been friends and that Nowak served as a mentor for Bojanowski as he discerned a vocation to the priesthood. Then, Bojanowski met Biernat and began spending more time with him.
‘Matthew’s relationship with Father Nowak cooled you might say, and this was disturbing to Father Nowak,’ said Malone. ‘Father Nowak secretly photographed that letter he found in Matthew’s apartment in Boston, when he was visiting there. This is all several years ago.’
Biernat on Aug. 14 took a personal leave of absence as secretary and vice chancellor, at the bishop’s request.
‘The content of that letter, if you’ve seen it, is a bit concerning and that is why I suggested that Father Ryszard should go on a personal leave of absence for a while,’ said Malone.
The letter suggests that Biernat and Bojanowski were involved in a romantic relationship…”