Buffalo, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Only days after the dean of seminarians resigned in disgust from Buffalo, New York's seminary over its corrupt culture, another seminarian is also calling it quits.
Matthew Bojanowski, whose mother took to media in early August to expose what she calls Bp. Richard Malone's cover-up of homosexual harassment, took part in a protest outside the Buffalo chancery Tuesday morning, where he called out Malone and his staff for attempts to "sabotage" his priestly vocation.
"Their goal for their slander and harassment was revenge and sabotage of my vocation to the priesthood," Bojanowski said, referring to retaliation he suffered after reporting on sexual harassment he experienced at the hands of Fr. Jeffrey Nowak.
In spite of submitting his complaints about Nowak to Malone in November 2018 — including a claim that Nowak breached the seal of confession and spread private information to others about Bojanowski — Malone left Nowak in active ministry for nine months, even though he acknowledged that Nowak was being investigated.
This differed from his treatment of 19 other priests, all placed on leave while under investigation.
Seminarian Matthew Bojanowski says the @BuffaloDiocese "suppresses the truth when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse." He says @BishopRJMalone should "resign immediately" and calls for the bishop’s excommunication from the Catholic Church. pic.twitter.com/6c2WQpSBGr— Charlie Specht (@Charlie_Reports) August 20, 2019
"No actions were taken to stop Fr. Nowak's malicious and relentless retaliation," Bojanowski said at Tuesday's press conference.
Bojanowski was joined by Stephen Parisi, former dean of seminarians — who resigned in protest last week, citing an overly sexualized climate and harassment of seminarians — and whistleblower Siobhan O'Connor, former secretary to Malone, who leaked hundreds of pages of documents last year exposing Malone's protection and promotion of predator priests.
Nowak had reportedly taken a liking to Bojanowski as he was discerning the priesthood, writing him sexually suggestive notes: "[Y]ou are in good physical shape and have the good looks" and "When you become a priest, you will be what we call clerical eye candy!"
He also displayed other inappropriate behavior that caused enough concern that Bojanowski reported him to the diocese, verbally informing Malone of the sexual harassment in November.
After hearing nothing, Bojanowski wrote him a formal letter outlining his complaints, which included the grave concern that Nowak had violated the seal of confession.
"I have grave concerns that my former confessor [Nowak] has broken the seal of confession, and has used information obtained from within the confessional to my detriment," he wrote. "I feel totally betrayed. These alleged actions taken by Father Jeffery Nowak are unacceptable and appalling, especially when done by a former confessor and spiritual director."
Still nothing happened, and Nowak was left in active ministry.
"I would say it's a cover-up," Bojanowski's mother said in her Aug. 6 interview with WKBW. "Bishop Malone has done absolutely nothing."
One day after the news report aired, Malone finally took action against Nowak and suspended him from ministry.
Parisi submitted a six-page resignation letter Thursday that was spurred, in part, by the Nowak situation, alleging a culture of harassment at Christ the King Seminary and claiming the diocese's handling of clerical sex abuse has been "disgusting and revolting."
"How could I commit my life to representing a diocese that is suspected of being so corrupt that it is being investigated by the federal government under the RICO Act?" Parisi asked.
He went on to urge Malone to step down, a demand he repeated at Tuesday morning's protest and a message echoed by Bojanowski.
"I call on Bishop Malone to resign immediately so that an apostolic investigation can be carried out in the Diocese of Buffalo," Bojanowski said Tuesday.
Christ the King Seminary has suffered scandal over the past year, with its former rector, Fr. Joseph Gatto, abruptly resigning in September in the wake of homosexual assault allegations.
A lawsuit had been filed by a local man receiving spiritual counseling from Gatto, who claims the rector "quickly befriended me, and shortly thereafter made unwanted sexual advances toward me."
Gatto denied the claim, reportedly spending a stint at Southdown Institute, a rehabilitation center for clergy in Toronto, Canada.
Although the diocese found Gatto guilty of the homosexual misconduct, he was placed back in active ministry this year, assigned to a parish attached to a grade school. Outcry by parents was immediate, leading Malone to reverse course within 24 hours of the announcement. Gatto is currently without an assignment.
Gatto was involved in recruiting homosexual seminarians from Latin America in the 1990s and 2000s, who would then be farmed out to various parishes. According to Church Militant's special report:
Church Militant spoke exclusively to multiple seminarians who were at Buffalo's Christ the King Seminary at the time, and two of them told us that homosexuality at the seminary under Mansell and Gatto was rampant and that some of the Colombians were actually parcelled out to parish assignments with active homosexual pastors who lavished expensive gifts, including cars, on the young gay Colombians in exchange for sex.