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Retired Buffalo priest suspended over sex abuse allegation

Retired Buffalo priest suspended over sex abuse allegation

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The headquarters of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo on Main Street, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. 

Another retired Buffalo Diocese priest has been put on administrative leave after a claim in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, along with a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed in August, alleged that the priest sexually abused a child.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher on Friday suspended the Rev. Robert J. Schober, who is restricted from priestly ministry or presenting himself in public as a priest while the allegations are under investigation. A review board is responsible for appointing an investigator to examine the claims.

Schober, 70, denied to diocese officials that he had abused anyone, according to a diocese statement.

It was the second consecutive Friday that Fisher announced a priest suspension. Four retired priests were put on administrative leave Sept. 10 due to child sex abuse allegations.

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Schober is retired and was not currently in active ministry. He had been a chaplain at Kenmore Mercy Hospital prior to his retirement.

Diocese officials said they notified the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.

Schober was named in an Aug. 4 Child Victims Act lawsuit filed by attorneys Steve Boyd and Jeff Anderson on behalf of an unnamed plaintiff. The lawsuit alleges Schober engaged in unpermitted sexual contact with a minor from 1980 to 1985 at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Elma. Schober was associate pastor of the parish, and the youth was 8 to 13 years old at the time, according to court papers and diocese directories.

More than 900 child sex abuse claims were filed in the diocese's case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York by a deadline on Aug. 14. Those claims have not been made public.

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My byline has run in the Ithaca Journal, USA Today, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and the New York Times. I have been a staff reporter at The Buffalo News since 2002 and currently am part of the watchdog team.

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