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Secretary to Buffalo Diocese bishop takes leave of absence

The Rev. Ryszard Biernat, secretary to Bishop Richard J. Malone and vice chancellor of the Buffalo Diocese, has taken a leave of absence for personal reasons, the diocese announced Tuesday.

The leave is for an undetermined length of time.

Biernat's departure comes during a tough time for the diocese, which was sued last week by more than 100 people who say they were sexually abused as children by clergy.

In September, Biernat revealed that he was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. He told a congregation about it during a Mass at St. John the Baptist Church in the Town of Tonawanda. He declined to tell The Buffalo News afterward what happened to him.

Biernat has told other people in the diocese that a veteran Buffalo priest sexually harassed and abused him when Biernat was in seminary studying for the priesthood, The News reported.

[Related: Child Victims Act cases detail stories of sexual abuse]

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