BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Four retired priests are now on administrative leave, according to Buffalo Diocese Bishop Michael Fisher.
Fisher tells News 4 this comes after the diocese found out about informational documents filed with the federal bankruptcy court as part of the diocese’s chapter 11 reorganization proceeding.
According to the diocese, bankruptcy claimants filed confidential documents containing information about their allegations against priests.
In a press release on Friday, the diocese said, “Upon learning of the allegations, the diocese notified the offices of the appropriate District Attorneys and confronted the priests, all of whom denied committing any acts of abuse. The diocese also reported the claims to the Independent Review Board, which will be responsible for appointing independent investigators.”
The priests accused include:
- Father Robert Beiter (82): Retired and not currently active in ministry due to declining health is restricted from carrying out any priestly ministry or from presenting himself publicly as a priest. At the time of his retirement Fr. Beiter’s served as Pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Brocton.
- Father Thomas Wopperer (83): Retired but assists at a number of diocesan parishes. Also restricted from performing priestly ministry or presenting himself publicly as a priest. Fr. Wopperer served as Pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Dunkirk prior to his retirement.
- Father Raymond Donohue (63): Retired but also occasionally assists in various parishes. He is also restricted from performing priestly ministry or presenting himself publicly as a priest Fr. Donohue had previously served as Pastor of St. Mary Parish in Mayville and St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Sherman.
- Monsignor Ronald Sciera (86): Retired and currently residing in Florida, has also been placed on administrative leave. Msgr. Sciera is not currently active in public ministry, however, is similarly restricted from presenting himself as a priest or performing priestly ministry. He previously served as Pastor of Precious Blood Parish in Buffalo. Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, has been informed of Msgr. Sciera’s status.