BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Diocese of Buffalo announced three priests have been restored to ministry assignments by Bishop Richard Malone following a two month leave of absence.
Rev. Arthur Mattulke, Rev. Patrick O'Keefe and Rev. Robert Orlowski were placed on temporary leave of absence following an incident at Saints Peter & Paul Parish Rectory in Hamburg in April.
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.
7 Eyewitness News exclusively obtained a written account the seminarians gave to their superiors at the seminary, and many of the graphic details were too sexually explicit to air on television.
Mattulke (Pastor, Saints Peter & Paul, Hamburg), O’Keefe (Parochial Vicar, Saints Peter & Paul, Hamburg) and Orlowski (Pastor, Our Mother of Good Counsel, Blasdell) will be reinstated effective July 5th. The diocese says Bishop Malone stressed these three points in his decision:
- "First, the seminarians are to be lauded for coming forward and discussing what happened."
- "While there were inappropriate topics discussed, there was absolutely no inappropriate physical conduct by any of the three priests."
- "It was of primary importance these priests were held accountable for their actions. Thus, each has received corrective measures including retraining in the Diocesan Code of Conduct and internal policies."
The diocese says Malone came to his decision following consulting with his Director of Professional Responsibility, his senior staff and others in diocesan and parish leadership.