Years ago, Ted advised Catholics to do what he called “Operation Whip”, which is to record, document, and confront people involved in serious, blatant, and persistent moral corruption in the Church. This came from an experience involving sodomites in the priesthood and about which little was done.
From what we could tell, very few people took to the idea, even just as a basic concept. This was very disappointing. Ultimately, it’s not about whether or not people give attention to our work, but that the principle- the uncovering of the moral rot of our times so that it can be stopped and fixed -would be preserved and realized. But we did not lose hope, for we knew that eventually, at some point, there might be somebody who would do this.
Finally, the day came true when a Catholic priest, Fr. Ryszard Biernat, secretly recorded a meeting with Buffalo Bishop Malone, in which the Bishop admitted he knew a particular priest in his diocese was a “sick puppy” and that nothing was done about him:
It’s the morning of Friday, Aug. 2, and Bishop Richard J. Malone hasn’t slept for two nights.
“We are in a true crisis situation,” Malone said. “True crisis. And everyone in the office is convinced this could be the end for me as bishop. It could force me to resign if in fact they make a story…”
Malone is at his sprawling residence on Buffalo’s East Side for a one-on-one meeting with his trusted secretary, Rev. Ryszard Biernat, and the embattled bishop is concerned about a brewing story regarding Christ the King Seminary, allegations of love letters and claims of sexual harassment by a diocesan priest.
“I think we’re gonna blow this story up into something like an atom bomb if we start talking about that. You know?” Malone said to Biernat. “Cause then it sounds like, it sounds like a soap opera. It sounds like a love triangle. And you know what the media can do with that.”
The story Malone was referring to involves Biernat, seminarian Matthew Bojanowski and Rev. Jeffrey Nowak, pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Cheektowaga. The bishop makes it clear he doesn’t want the full story to get out.
“With all the else that’s going on in the diocese and all the, all the attacks on my credibility…that I’ve known that something’s going on here that shouldn’t be and I let it go…I mean this is a disaster,” Malone said.
When he met with church officials Steve Halter and Kathy Spangler last month, he said even his loyal advisers could feel the walls closing in.
“You know, they really scared me,” Malone told Biernat. “They kept saying, ‘You know this could be the end, bishop. This could be the end.’”
‘More than harassment’
In November 2018, seminarian Matthew Bojanowski said Bishop Malone was first notified of the sexual harassment allegations Bojanowski was making against Nowak. Two years earlier — while Bojanowski was considering the priesthood — he said Nowak began sexually pursuing him based on information he told the priest in the confessional.
“After rejecting Father Nowak’s advances and harassment, I had to endure many months of revenge and retaliation by Father Nowak, and to other members of clergy, including slander and emotional abuse,” Bojanowski said.
Bojanowski followed up with a written complaint and multiple pages of documentation to Bishop Malone in January, according to a certified letter signed by a diocesan official. The bishop huddled with advisers Halter, Rev. Peter Karalus and Rev. Jim Croglio to talk about the allegations.
“Father Jeff Nowak has some serious, serious issues,” Bishop Malone said in an audio recording of the conversation obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team. “It’s very clear that Jeff Nowak had what I think was a very, very unhealthy and inappropriate attachment to this Matt Bojanowski.”
Asked whether Nowak was harassing the seminarian, Karalus replied, “[It’s] more than harassment,” and the bishop said, “It looks to me like he wanted to have [a] relationship, and even intimate relations.”
They refer to Nowak’s Facebook messages to Bojanowski, where Nowak tells him, “when you become a priest, you will be what we call clerical eye candy.”
“Which is pretty sick, I have to say,” Bishop Malone said to his advisers, adding, “there’s plenty of evidence” to make a case against Nowak.
Bojanowski said when he turned down Nowak’s advances, the priest became vindictive — and jealous of his friendship with Biernat, Malone’s secretary.
Malone and his advisers agree that Nowak went so far as to rifle through Bojanowski’s belongings and steal and circulate a letter between Biernat and Bojanowski in an attempt to blackmail them. The letter was portrayed as a love letter, though both Biernat and Bojanowski insist it was based on friendship.
“So (he’s) a big manipulator, along with the violation of the confessional,” Karalus concluded about Nowak.
“Jeff is broken up over this broken relationship, and he throws in a broken relationship with Ryszard, but he’s not broken up over everything else that he’s done,” Croglio said. “And he’s made an accusation against your secretary. He’s insinuated to other priests in the diocese that there’s something wrong, and it’s all coming from jealousy.”
“Yeah, that’s perfectly clear,” Malone said.
“He has no sense of morality about what he has done,” Croglio said.
“Exactly,” Malone adds. “The simple version here is we’ve got victims and we have a perpetrator, and the perpetrator is Jeff Nowak, and he’s done things that are clearly wrong, and I think he’s a sick puppy.”
Bishop: ‘He’s a sick puppy’
But sick as Bishop Malone may have thought Father Nowak, he wasn’t sent to a church-run “treatment center” for another five months, during which time he stayed in ministry at Our Lady Help of Christians in Cheektowaga with no notice to parishioners. That inaction is what ultimately led the bishop’s most trusted secretary to go public.
“I thought, ‘I need to do something,’ so I started recording those meetings because they say one thing but they do nothing,” Biernat said. “And so you have one recording in March then (a) week later, another recording, and nothing is being done.”
Unlike the other 19 priests the diocese suspended in the last year, Nowak was allowed to stay on the job during the investigation — even though the bishop and his men worried Nowak could hurt other parishioners.
“Anything could happen,” Malone said.
Biernat said, “And you know, what if there’s another person coming to (the) confessional like Matthew?”
Karalus said, “preying on…”
“There is a concern about Jeff’s emotional stability,” Croglio said. “I mean…It’s all about Jeff. It has nothing to do with ministry. It’s– it’s his need. And that– and that’s what this whole thing is.”
“Absolutely,” Bishop Malone said.
Croglio also said, “and he is the pastor of a parish, and we don’t know emotionally, spiritually, or any other way where his mind is and what he is doing to people.”
The men even wondered how Nowak was able to graduate from Christ the King Seminary in 2012 and be ordained a priest in the Buffalo Diocese.
“Again I ask the question, just like we were talking about, ‘How did we get to this point of this person getting through evaluations to be ordained?’” Karalus said.
The bishop wondered the same question.
“How’d he get through?”
Nowak did not respond to multiple requests seeking comment for this story. Bishop Malone issued a statement late Tuesday night where he said Nowak twice refused to undergo a “behavioral assessment” but that “the diocese was and is aware of no behavior that threatened harm to the public.”
Priest stayed in ministry
Since last year — when he was criticized for allowing Rev. Art Smith and Rev. Robert Yetter to remain in ministry despite multiple abuse allegations — Bishop Malone has pledged to handle the sexual abuse of adults more transparently.
In May, in an interview with ABC News Correspondent David Wright, Malone said, “When it comes to an accusation of an adult being abused, or some kind of misconduct, or harassment, we’ve tried to handle those things in a quieter way, sent the — bring the priest in — send him for assessment, discipline him, sometimes with the hope that he could be restored to some partial ministry,” Malone said. “But I see it’s the wrong way to do it. And we have not done that since then.”
But that same month, Bishop Malone kept secret an inquiry about the priest until 7 Eyewitness News asked about it in on May 9. That day, a diocesan spokeswoman confirmed that “a preliminary inquiry has been initiated concerning allegations of inappropriate behavior/unwanted contact.”
Bishop Malone also did not “temporarily remove” Nowak from ministry until Aug. 7, a day after the I-Team published more allegations.
It wasn’t until last week — 10 months after the original complaint and while 7 Eyewitness News was preparing to publish this story — that Bishop Malone formally put Nowak on administrative leave. (source, source)
What makes this story better is that Fr. Biernat admits to having been sexually harassed by sodomites while studying for the priesthood. However, instead of doing what Americans do- such as bending over for the sodomite agenda, making excuses, or refusing to do anything about it- he just told what was happening.
It is always unfortunate when things have to come to such a blatant point, but sometimes they have to.
The Church is in a historically unprecidented situation today with regard to the crisis in her ranks. Sodomites have penetrated the hierarchy, and while this has happened before, it is the intensity and scale that makes it so dangerous. Likewise, just as it has always been throughout her history, where the leadership of the Church fails is where, by nothing less than a miracle of God, the common people step up and start the process of cleaning, as imperfect as it may be.
The Church is not going to “disappear”- she will get smaller, but this was foreseen a long time ago and is known to people in Catholic circles.
What Fr. Biernat did is an inspiration and a model for all to follow, since the corruption needs to be exposed. Christ already said that the Church cannot fail because He is her guarantor, and God does not fail. Therefore, what does one have to lose at exposing the corruption within her? Even people who do this for evil reasons or highly questionable motives, they will fail because the only thing they will do is to end up serving the will of God.
Look to the example of Fr. Biernat- get the people in the Church who are involved in perpetuating abuse on recording, and put it up online.
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It is overdue for the spiritual moneychangers in the Church to be exposed and driven from power.