Ellicottville priest Mierzwa suspended for abuse complaint

Comes days after I-Team investigation
Posted at 5:26 PM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-25 09:13:48-04

Ellicottville priest Fr. Ronald Mierzwa was suspended Monday after an abuse complaint, the Diocese of Buffalo announced.

Mierzwa was featured in a recent I-Team investigation into Bishop Richard J. Malone's handling of sexual abuse claims.

Mierzwa was not named in the story and in a phone interview before it aired, told the I-Team he didn’t remember allegations that he made a group of boys “parade around in their underwear.”

The story stated:

Diocesan officials kept another current priest off the list because he “credibly denied” the claims made by a woman that the priest made her sons parade around in their underwear.

But then they gave a more urgent reason for not disclosing the allegation to the public.

“He is still functioning as a pastor, and so should not be on [the] list.” 

Sources say this document was prepared by Sr. Regina Murphy, diocesan chancellor, and Lawlor F. Quinlan, a Buffalo attorney who works for the church. 

The pastor, in a phone interview, said he had no memory of the claims but remembered the family of the woman who made the claim. He said the family belonged to his church more than 40 years ago. 7 Eyewitness News is not naming the priest because we were not able to reach the woman who made the complaint to verify the information.

Mierzwa is the pastor of Holy Name of Mary Church in Ellicottville. He did not respond to a message seeking comment Monday evening.

A diocesan spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a question about why the diocese only now placed Mierzwa on administrative leave, when internal records show the diocese has known about the complaint since 2002.

It is unclear whether the diocese has received an additional complaint or whether Mierzwa has been suspended for the original complaint. 

He is one of more than 100 priests in the Diocese of Buffalo to be accused of some form of sexual misconduct.

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