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Diocese of Buffalo puts three priests on temporary leave of absence

Posted: 6:46 PM, Apr 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-25 22:10:18Z
0104 Diocese Front of Building.jpg

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Diocese of Buffalo has placed three priests on temporary leave of absence following an incident at Saints Peter & Paul Parish Rectory in Hamburg.

According to the diocese, "unsuitable, inappropriate and insensitive conversations" took place during a social gathering of seminarians and priests on April 11 that some seminarians found to be offensive.

"The complaints did not include or infer any instance of physical sexual abuse of a minor or adult," a statement from the diocese said.

As a result, Bishop Richard Malone has suspended Rev. Arthur Mattulke and Rev. Patrick O'Keefe, both of of Saints Peter & Paul in Hamburg, and Rev. Robert Orlowski of Our Mother of Good Counsel in Blasdell from parish assignments while disciplinary action is taken. The diocese says "corrective actions" include psychological evaluations, retraining in sexual harassment policies and individual retreats.

The seminarians completed state sanctioned sexual harassment training this past fall in addition to training on sexual abuse by the National Catholic Risk Retention Group.

"The Diocese of Buffalo is thankful the seminarians followed the proper protocol and the Seminary responded correctly by immediately investigating and forwarding the findings to Bishop Richard J. Malone and other diocesan officials, including the Office of Professional Responsibility," the diocese said.

The diocese says the investigation is ongoing and further actions may be taken therefore a timeline is undetermined.