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Diocese cites contradictory information in keeping accused priest in ministry

Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone said he did not know prior to this spring that the Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski had been accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl, and that’s why he allowed Maryanski to continue working in parishes for years.

U.S. Catholic Church policy forbids priests with even a single credible allegation against them from being in ministry.

The investigation into the complaint against Maryanski was handled prior to Malone's arrival as bishop in Buffalo. Diocese officials at that time treated it as a case of clergy sex abuse of an adult, according to Malone and Terrence Connors, an attorney for the diocese.

The church’s “zero tolerance” policy for priests, adopted at a 2002 meeting in Dallas, applies to cases of sexual abuse of minors and does not include sexual misconduct by clergy that involves adults.

The News first wrote about the allegation against Maryanski on May 6, and the diocese declined to comment at the time.

Stephanie McIntyre said in an interview with The News in April that the diocese had known about her complaints against Maryanski for more than two decades.

McIntyre provided a 1995 letter sent by her attorney Charles A. West Jr. to diocese officials accusing Maryanski of having sexual contact with her in a church rectory when she was a teenage girl.

But Connors said on Monday the letter from West indicated that Maryanski had befriended his client in 1990, which would mean McIntyre was 21 or 22 years old at the time.

“So there was contradictory information,” Connors said. “Several people reached out from the chancery to get some additional information, and it remained contradictory. And what happened in 1995, as best as I can put together, is it was treated as a case of adult abuse. And at that time, what was done, what was done throughout the country is that Father Fabian Maryanski was sent to be evaluated by no less than three to five institutions, where he would be out of service for five years, until finally he came back and after he had been evaluated, this was by Bishop Mansell, and was placed back into service because the evaluators told (Mansell) it was 100 percent safe to put (Maryanski) back in service.”

(Sharon Cantillon/News file photo)

McIntyre said Tuesday that diocese officials continued to lie and obfuscate about her case. She pointed to a follow-up letter from West in 1995 that made the dates of her abuse clear.

“The fact that there was a typographical error in one date on the first claim, which clearly included the fact that the abuse began when I was 15-16, hardly seems like a reason to just write it all off and forget about it,” McIntyre said. “Especially when they have the second letter with all of the facts reiterated. If there was a discrepancy, who did they call to try to clarify it? I have never, ever been contacted about this discrepancy and circled it on my own copy of the letter in question.”

The second letter from West to the diocese, dated Aug. 8, 1995, stated that his client alleged that Maryanski began performing oral sex on her in 1984, when she was 15.

McIntyre, 50, also said the diocese lied about Maryanski being out of ministry for five years.

“He was gone for about three months, but then promptly placed at St. Mary's in Medina where he resumed all priestly duties,” she said. “My parents were mortified to know that he was moved just 15 minutes away and was saying Mass.”

Maryanski, 77, initially denied having had any sexual contact with McIntyre when she was a parishioner of St. Patrick Church in Barker, where he was pastor in the 1980s and 1990s. But in a follow-up interview with The News, he admitted having sex with the woman when she was in her 20s.

Malone removed Maryanski from active ministry the day after The News published a front-page story about his alleged abuses.  The Erie County District Attorney's Office in June investigated a complaint of inappropriate touching involving Maryanski and determined the priest's behavior in that case was creepy but not criminal and declined to prosecute.

Diocese officials on Monday added 36 priests’ names to a list released in March that identified clergy who had been credibly accused of abuse. The diocese’s list of credibly accused priests now stands at 78 priests.

Maryanski’s name is not on the list. The diocese is still investigating the allegations.

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