The Buffalo Diocese is kicking these 23 priests off its payroll

Survivors forced action through bankruptcy
0104 Diocese Front of Building.jpg
Posted at 12:42 PM, Apr 29, 2020

Clarification (5:20 p.m.): The Diocese of Buffalo originally indicated that Fr. James A. Spielman and Fr. John P. Hajduk would stop receiving benefits, but Wednesday afternoon clarified that they had both had "disassociated himself from the Diocese and moved elsewhere and has not been on the Diocesan pension plan or received any benefits."

It also stated that two priests who had not been previously named as alleged abusers -- Michael R. Swartz and Paul Salemi -- would be removed from the payroll. Interim diocesan spokesman Greg Tucker said, "the substantiated allegations did not involve minors (thus their names aren't included on the published list on the diocesan website), but they were relieved of their faculties nonetheless for other substantiated offenses and continued to receive salary and health benefits."

Previously on Wednesday, 7 Eyewitness News asked Tucker for a list of the 23 priests who would be kicked off the payroll. He did not provide a list but directed the I-Team to a list of 78 priests with substantiated child sex abuse allegations and said only the living priests "would be affected by this action."

The Diocese of Buffalo is kicking these 23 priests off of its payroll through an agreement it reached with survivors this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Becker, Donald W.
Bialkowski, David M.
Dolinic, Louis S.
Fafinski, Donald S.
Faraci, Douglas F.
Friel, Mark
Fronczak, Dennis A.
Gresock, Thomas
Hatrick, Brian M.
Ingalls, Fred D.
Ipolito, Pascal D.
Juran, Michael
Maryanski, Fabian J.
McCarthy, Thomas J.
Mierzwa, Ronald
Orsolits, Norbert F.
Palys, Daniel J.
Pavlock, Martin L.
Salemi, Paul -- diocese said allegations did not involve minors
Smith, Arthur J.
Swartz, Michael R. -- diocese said allegations did not involve minors
Venne, Samuel J.
Wolski, Mark J.

The Diocese of Buffalo announced Tuesday it would cease all financial support and health benefits for priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse beginning May 1 as part of the bankruptcy process.

Diocese interim spokesman Greg Tucker released the following statement: "Following discussions and subsequent agreement with the Creditors Committee, which has been appointed as part of the Diocese of Buffalo's Chapter 11 process, the Diocese will cease all financial support and health benefits for priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse, effective May 1, 2020. None of the 23 individuals affected currently has faculties to function as a priest within the Diocese. The nature and details of the allegations that resulted in their faculties being suspended relate, in most cases, to allegations raised many years ago. The Diocese is directing these individuals to information and available resources elsewhere for their health insurance and other sustenance needs going forward."

The diocese, facing nearly 250 lawsuits involving clergy sexual abuse, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2020.