Father Jeffrey Nowak
Diocese of Buffalo
Assigned as follows:
- Our Lady Help of Christians (Cheektowaga, NY)
- St. John Vianney Church (Orchard Park, NY)
- St. Vincent de Paul (Niagara Falls, NY)
- Mary Queen of Angels School (Cheektowaga, NY)
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Jeffrey Nowak:
According to media reports, in August 2019, a former student at Christ the King Seminary, accused Father Jeffrey Nowak of violating the Catholic church’s seal of confession, sexually harassing him and trying to blackmail a fellow priest. After a news report was published regarding this case, Father Nowak was suspended as Pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians in Cheektowaga. He denied all of the allegations.
The former seminarian accused Father Nowak of violating the seal of confession after hearing his confession several years earlier. The man said he was interested in pursuing the priesthood and alleges that Father Nowak used that information to try and develop a romantic relationship with him. He referred to his potential as “clerical eye candy.” According to canon law, a priest can never discuss or act upon any information outside the confession that was received during confession. Violating it can lead to ex-communication or dismissal from the Catholic Church.
The former seminarian said he first notified Bishop Malone of the allegation against Father Nowak in November 2018. When no action was taken, even after a follow-up complaint, he secretly recorded audio of the bishop’s inner circle of advisers discussing the allegations against the priest in meetings last March.
“We have victims and we have a perpetrator. And the perpetrator here is Jeff Nowak. He’s done things that are clearly wrong, and I think he’s a sick puppy,” said Bishop Malone.
The man said he made the recordings to show how Bishop Malone was delaying the removal of Father Nowak from ministry, and has called for his resignation. The bishop defended his handling of what he described as “a very complex, convoluted matter.” He said he placed Father Nowak on leave when the priest twice refused to seek a behavioral assessment at St. Luke Institute in Maryland.
“The Diocese of Buffalo suppresses the truth in relation to sexual abuse,” the man said at a news conference across from the Diocese of Buffalo office. “There is no transparency in the Buffalo Diocese and there is no justice for victims of abuse, whether the victims are children or adults.”
Father Nowak has since agreed to go to for treatment at Southdown Institute in Toronto. The former seminarian hopes the Vatican will intervene and the the FBI will investigate.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Buffalo, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims. Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options today.