Priest Who Served in Chicopee Facing Abuse Allegations

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has released the following statement regarding allegations of sexual abuse by the Rev. Michael Kolodziej, who was assigned to St. Stanislaus Basilica in Chicopee between 1991 and 2001. The diocese is urging anyone with knowledge of sexual abuse of a minor by any member of the clergy or other church personnel to contact Patricia McManamy, LSW, victim assistance coordinator for the Diocese of Springfield at 1-800-842-9055.

Statement Regarding Father Michael Kolodziej

The Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, and Archbishop Curley High School have received an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor by Father Michael Kolodziej (kuh-low-jay), OFM Conv. Kolodziej is a member and former Minister Provincial of the Order, which has staffed Archbishop Curley High School since its founding.

Kolodziej, age 69, was a teacher at Archbishop Curley High School from 1975-79. A former student from this time period has alleged that he was abused on several occasions while Kolodziej wrestled him. Archbishop Curley High School reported the allegation immediately to authorities, and the police were promptly informed; the School, the Order, and the Archdiocese, which owns Archbishop Curley High School, are cooperating fully with authorities. The Order has suspended Kolodziej from all public ministry and the Archbishop has withdrawn Kolodziej’s faculties to function as a priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.



The Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Order, and Archbishop Curley High School are unaware of any other allegations of misconduct against Kolodziej during his time at Archbishop Curley High School.

Kolodziej was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Buffalo in 1970 and served in Buffalo as a hospital chaplain (1970), associate pastor and school director at St. Mary of Sorrows Church (1970-71), and teacher at Bishop Turner High School and Villa Maria College (1971-74) until he entered the Franciscan Order in 1974.  After serving at Archbishop Curley High School, Kolodziej served as teacher and assistant principal at St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, N.Y., (1979-82), principal at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda, N.Y., (1982-88), pastor at Holy Trinity Parish in Lawrence (1988-91), rector at St. Stanislaus Basilica in Chicopee (1991-2001), Minister Provincial of the Order in Ellicott City, Md., (2001-2010), and parochial vicar at St. Philip Benizi Parish in Jonesboro, Ga., from 2010 until his recent suspension.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Franciscan Order, and Archbishop Curley High School are committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse.  Anyone who has any knowledge of child sexual abuse is urged to come forward, and to report it immediately to the police. If clergy or other Church personnel are suspected of committing the abuse, please also call the Archdiocese of Baltimore's Office of Child and Youth Protection at 410-547-5348.


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Ethics Commission Alleges Conflict Violations by West Stockbridge Chief

WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — The Enforcement Division of the State Ethics Commission on Wednesday filed an order to show cause alleging that West Stockbridge Fire Chief Peter Skorput, a former Select Board member, committed multiple conflict-of-interest law violations, including setting stipends for himself, his daughter and his nephew; voting as a Select Board member to reappoint himself fire chief; and terminating a firefighter who had filed a complaint against him.
 
According to the order, shortly after Skorput was elected to the Select Board in 2013, a West Stockbridge official contacted the town's counsel about conflict-of-interest law exemptions available to Skorput regarding his serving both as a Select Board member and fire chief. 
 
Allegedly, town counsel advised the official that Skorput follow the requirements for a particular conflict-of-interest law exemption that would allow him to accept pay for both positions, and this was communicated to Skorput. From the time he was elected until January 2017, however, Skorput did not meet the exemption requirements and violated the conflict of law by continuing to hold his compensated fire chief position after his election to the Select Board, according to the order.
 
The order further alleges Skorput violated the conflict-of-interest law by participating officially in matters involving his own and his daughter's financial interests. In 2013, Skorput allegedly voted as a Select Board member to reappoint himself as fire chief. Also, as fire chief, he allegedly decided the amount of firefighter stipends for himself each December in 2013-2015 and for his daughter in 2013 and 2014, and as a Select Board member signed the pay warrants for his daughter's stipends. Additionally, at several Select Board meetings in 2015 and 2016, Skorput allegedly participated as a Select Board member in the board's review of complaints about his performance as fire chief.
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