Former Seminary Teacher in Buffalo Stalks Journalist Covering Scandals in the Diocese, SNAP Stands in Support of the Journalist
News of a member of the media being stalked for reporting the truth is disturbing and highlights an ongoing concern of advocates, not just in Buffalo, but nationwide.
According to the Buffalo News, Paul Lubienecki, a Catholic employee on leave from his position, apparently stalked Charlie Specht, a reporter in Buffalo who has played a critical role in exposing and uncovering the many scandals that have plagued that Diocese over the past two years. This attempt to intimidate the media reminds us of the many instances we know of where victims or their families have been shamed or scared into silence. That this behavior is occurring in 2020 demonstrates that the lessons of the past two decades of scandal for the institutional church have not yet fully sunk in.
Whether it is abusing children, vulnerable adults, or power – as Lubienecki attempted – Catholic officials continue to struggle with the issue of abuse. Too often the first reaction is one of minimization, whether that example is Bishop Richard Malone's attempt to silence seminarians who wanted to report abuse or this former teacher who took it upon himself to try and stop the public from learning about ongoing scandals.
This case demands immediate discipline from Catholic officials. We call on Diocesan Administrator Edward B. Scharfenberger to offer full cooperation to law enforcement so that the extent of Lubienecki’s tactics are exposed and publicized. Church leaders should publicly denounce Lubienecki and offer a public apology to Charlie Specht. And when a new bishop is appointed in Buffalo, he should immediately work at rooting out the culture that exists within the Diocese and promotes intimidation and minimization in an effort to transform it into a place that is open, transparent, and safe.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)