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BUFFALO, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The second most powerful man in the diocese of Buffalo has been suspended, owing to allegations of sexual misconduct.
Buffalo's interim Bp. Edward Scharfenberger on Saturday placed the vicar general for the diocese, Fr. Peter Karalus, on administrative leave "following an allegation of sexual misconduct by a person who was a minor in 2011," according to a statement from the chancery. Scharfenberger emphasized that an "investigation into the allegation" is now underway and there has been no "determination about the truth or falsity of the complaint."
Karalus, who is also the moderator of the curia, denies any wrongdoing surrounding a confession he heard of a minor nine years ago. A former employee of the diocese, however, told Church Militant that Karalus has a checkered past.
Karalus had been accused of grooming boys while pastor of St. John Paul II parish in Lakeview/Hamburg, New York, according to the Buffalo insider.
"I have seen the letter accusing Fr. Karalus of grooming in person, but I do not have a copy of it that was sent while Karalus was pastor of Lakeview/Hamburg," said the source.
The source added, "I believe this letter was a part of the accumulated evidence that Fr. Joseph Moreno wanted to send to the Nuncio and the Buffalo News. Unfortunately, some information may not have been received because Fr. Moreno was murdered."
Since speaking with the informant, Church Militant has obtained a copy of this letter, which is featured below.
The embattled Bp. Richard Malone, who resigned as head of the diocese in disgrace in December, appointed Karalus as his vicar general in 2018 after Fr. Mark Noonan left the position to become a pastor of a local parish.
In a statement released to the media on Saturday, Karalus claims he doesn't remember the minor's controversial confession but asserted that comments he made during the sacrament must have been misunderstood.
"I can, however, say that over my many years of ministry, I have learned common responses of advice and guidance to offer penitents. In this case, I am certain that my comments, intended as advice, were misunderstood, misinterpreted, or not comprehended in the manner they were offered," assured Karalus.
The diocesan insider, who spoke anonymously with Church Militant, alleges that Karalus was a known homosexual.
"Most people and even some priests were shocked that Malone would pick such a person to be vicar general," said the informant.
The source brought up one reason for appointing Karalus: He knew much of the dirt on fellow priests in the diocese and was appointed to "keep him quiet about what he knows about others."
"After all," he said, "this is known as the 'diocese of Blackmail!'"
The reference of blackmail within the Buffalo diocese has multiple roots dating back to 2019. A 38-year-old seminarian Matthew Bojanowski notified Malone in January of his allegations against Fr. Jeffery Nowak involving sexual blackmail.
In August, the former dean of seminarians, Stephen Parisi also drew attention to an "alarming" climate of "blackmail taking place at Buffalo's Christ the King Seminary.
The source also notes that Karalus was "very close" with Fr. Michael LaMarca, an allegedly homosexual pastor stationed at St. Michael's parish in Warsaw, New York.
"Some former seminarians (who are now priests) that were stationed with them said that it was like living with "'Mr. and Mrs. Karalus!'"
The source questioned why Karalus was given a position as vicar general for which he was canonically unqualified:
It makes one wonder who is crazier — Malone and his curia for picking him to be vicar general or Scharfenberger for keeping him in that position! Scharfenberger is a canon lawyer, yet he overlooked the fact that canon law states that the position of vicar general has a list of specific qualifications.
"All I can say is that the corruption in Buffalo is absolutely unreal," concluded the source. "It is so unbelievably brutal that I probably wouldn't believe the severity of it if I wasn't experiencing it myself!"
3/24/2020: This article has been updated with Fr. Joseph Moreno's 2012 letter.
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