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Retired priest allowed to assist in ministry despite two Child Victims Act lawsuits

Diocese of Buffalo announces reinstatement of four priests
Posted at 5:15 PM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 17:44:24-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A spokesperson for the Diocese of Buffalo announced that four priests previously put on administrative leave following allegations of misconduct have been reinstated, following the review and recommendation by the Diocesan Review Board.

One of those priests, Msgr. James G. Kelly, 83, is accused in two Child Victims Act (CVA) lawsuits of having sexual contact with minors.

Kelly is a retired priest who continues to assist in parish ministry, according to the diocese.

The two lawsuits, with alleged victims identified using a “John Doe” pseudonym, were filed by attorney Steve Boyd and Jeff Anderson & Associates.

The abuse in the two claims is alleged to have occurred between 1980 and 1982, and from 2005 until 2007.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher placed Msgr. Kelly on administrative leave on June 30 after the diocese learned of a complaint against him.

Both CVA suits against Msgr. Kelly are ongoing despite his return to ministry.

Also returned to ministry are Rev. Adolph Kowalczyk, Rev. Matt Nycz and Rev. Gregory Dobson.

All three priests were placed on administrative leave following an accusation that they each abused a child in the 1990s at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Orchard Park.

That lawsuit was filed by Phillips & Paolicelli, LLP.

An attorney representing the alleged victim informed the diocese that their client would not cooperate with the investigation or provide information beyond the general accusation, according to a diocese news release.

The diocese confronted each of the accused priests, all of whom denied ever committing any acts of abuse, according to the diocese.

Claims against all four priests were found by the review board to be "unsubstantiated."

Over 700 Child Victims Act lawsuits were filed against the Diocese of Buffalo or other related entities of the Catholic Church in Western New York.