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Retired priest placed on administrative leave by Bishop Fisher following allegations of misconduct

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Posted at 4:52 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 20:52:21-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Diocese of Buffalo announced Wednesday a retired priest has been placed on administrative leave following allegations of misconduct.

According to the Diocese, it recently became aware of an action brought pursuant to the Child Victims Act by an individual who alleges abuse as a child 15 years ago by Rev. Msgr. James G. Kelly. The 83-year-old Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Buffalo but still assists in parish ministry. A releases says the complaint was filed anonymously and the Diocese became aware of it during a search of publicly filed complaints.

The Diocese released a statement which said in part:

Upon learning of the complaint, the Diocese notified the Erie County District Attorney’s office, reached out to the attorney for the plaintiff, and confronted Msgr. Kelly, who denied committing any acts of abuse. The Diocese also reported the matter to the Independent Review Board which will be responsible for appointing an independent investigator.

Because the plaintiff did not file a complaint with the Diocese’s Victim Assistance Coordinator, the Diocese reached out to the plaintiff’s attorney to determine whether the plaintiff is willing to cooperate with an investigation and provide all relevant details related to the allegations.

According to the Diocese, while waiting for a response from the victim another anonymous complaint was filed alleging abuse in the early 1980's by Kelly.

Due to the allegations of abuse, Bishop Michael Fisher placed Kelly on administrative leave. The Diocese says an thorough investigation by an appointed independent investigator will take place and a final determination will be made by the Independent Review Board.

An attorney representing Monsignor James G. Kelly issued this statement:
“Msgr Kelly has served the Western New York Catholic community with distinction for 59 years. The allegations contained in the two unsworn Anderson law firm complaints are unfounded. We deny the allegations of the Complaints and will vigorously defend the actions in court. We look forward to the investigation of the Complaints by the Independent Review Board chaired by retired Appellate Division Justice Salvatore Martoche. We also look forward to forward to Msgr. Kelly returning to his pastoral duties”.