Diocese of Buffalo investigating claims made by seminarian

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Just days after a seminarian came forward with his own harassment claims, an investigator with the Diocese of Buffalo is asking for more information.

Steven Halter is the Director of Professional Responsibility with the Diocese. He’s also heading the investigation into allegations made by former Christ the King seminarian Matthew Bojanowksi, who claims Father Jeffrey Nowak sexually harassed him and broke the seal of confession.

While Nowak has taken a leave of absence, he denies the claim that he broke the seal of confession. Halter has interviewed Bojanowski on these allegations twice, but he said he’s still looking for details.

“If I don’t have specifics of how this occurred and what he’s specifically alleging against Father Nowak, I won’t be able to gather that information or get any kind of opinion from our Canon lawyers.”

But Bojanowski’s lawyer said they’ve provided enough information, pointing to an outline he sent to the Diocese back in January.

“He included all the details of harassment from Father Jeffrey Nowak. He also included examples – text messages – that he thought were harassing,” said attorney Barry Covert. “It’s incredulous to believe that the Diocese now feels after nine months that they don’t have sufficient information to finish the investigation.”

Halter is employed through the Diocese, but he said he’s an unbiased party when it comes to handling the investigation.

“I am an employee with the Diocese, my salary is paid by the Diocese, but as I said before, I’m not here to protect Bishop Malone,” Halter said.

The investigation remains open. The Diocese plans to bring in additional investigators to assist with the increase in these types of investigations.

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