The current pastor and the immediate former pastor of a large parish in Clarence both have been suspended from ministry after the Diocese of Buffalo received complaints of abuse against them.
The suspended priests are Monsignor Frederick D. Leising and the Rev. Ronald P. Sajdak.
Sajdak is the current pastor of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Clarence. Leising was pastor of the parish prior to Sajdak.
Leising, 73, also is former president and rector of Christ the King Seminary in Aurora.
In May, Bishop Richard J. Malone suspended a third priest linked to Nativity — the Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski, who was retired and assisted with Masses at the parish.
Leising’s name surfaced earlier this week on the Buffalo Diocese’s Facebook page. A woman who had accused Maryanski of repeatedly sexually abusing her when she was a teenager in the 1980s commented on a diocese posting of a statement asking anyone with a claim of suspected abuse to contact the diocese.
“Perhaps you should revisit my letter to Bishop Malone (April 2018) and address the situation with Fr. Fred Leising,” wrote Stephanie McIntyre in her Facebook comment.
McIntyre’s letter to Malone primarily described years of allegedly being sexually abused by Maryanski. But she also mentioned in the letter an uninvited advance by Leising in 1988, in which the priest allegedly grabbed her, forcibly kissed her and stuck his tongue in her mouth. McIntyre said she was 19 at the time.
“It was disgusting and considering I was already being abused by Maryanski, it was kind of the final straw in my trusting of priests. When I told Maryanski and he just defended Leising's actions as being the norm, I was destroyed,” McIntyre said in an interview Saturday with The Buffalo News.
Leising, who was vice rector of Christ the King Seminary in 1988, denied making the advance. He said he remembers the incident with the woman because it was so unusual, but he has a different recollection of it than McIntyre.
"She grabbed me and spun me around and she kissed me and I was very shocked by that," he said. "I would never have directly attempted to do anything like that to anyone against their will."
The diocese first brought McIntyre's complaint to Leising's attention months ago, he said. But it wasn't until Saturday morning that Auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz informed Leising that he was being put on administrative leave due to that complaint.
Leising said he is disappointed in the bishop's decision. He is scheduled to meet with Grosz in person Monday, he said. Leising was the second former seminary rector to be put on leave due to an abuse complaint. The bishop in September suspended the Rev. Joseph C. Gatto, who had been head of the seminary since 2015.
Sajdak, 63, did not immediately return a voicemail Saturday seeking comment.
Sajdak was accused of abuse dating back to the 1970s, prior to his being a priest, in a claim submitted to the Buffalo Diocese’s program to compensate victims of abuse. Sajdak was ordained as a Buffalo Diocese priest in 1996. He spent five years in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the Discalced Carmelite Community in Boston, Mass., and attended Wadhams Hall Seminary College in Ogdensburg before that.