Allegations of abuse against three Buffalo of Diocese priests have been substantiated following investigations, the Diocese confirmed Thursday. 

According to a diocesan statement, the allegations against Rev. Samuel J. Venne, Rev. Arthur J. Smith and Rev. Dennis A. Fronczak have been substantiated. The priests will remain on administrative leave while the results of the investigation are investigated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. The Congregation will make the final decision regarding the priests. 

The allegations against Rev. Dennis G. Riter were not substantiated by the investigation, and he has returned to active ministry. 

The investigation into the allegations against Fronczak were conducted by former NYS Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for Western District of New York Dennis C. Vacco. 

The investigation into allegations against Venne, Smith, and Riter were conducted by Inv. Scott Riordan, Village Justice of Kenmore and former assistant D.A. 

Bishop Richard Malone has also put the following priests on administrative leave following complaints of abuse until a preliminary investigation can be completed: 

  • Rev. Pascal D. Ipolito, ret. 
  • Rev. Daniel J. Palys, ret. 
  • Rev. Roy Herberger, ret. 
  • Rev. Robert A. Stolinski, ret.  

Rev. Herberger wrote a letter denying the allegations, saying,

“I want everyone to know that I deny these claims completely – 100%. I’m not saying that the victim is lying about being assaulted by some priest, a priest but I do emphatically deny that it was me. Possibly because of the traumatic experience he had, that mentally and emotionally he either didn’t know the name of the priest or that as a result of his overwhelming experiences he couldn’t remember the name of that priest.”

Anyone with a complaint of abuse by a priest is asked to contact the Diocese’s victim assistance coordinator at 716-895-3010.