Former rector of local basilica accused of abusing a minor
SPRINGFIELD – The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced today that Conventual Franciscan Father Michael Kolodziej, who served as rector of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Basilica in Chicopee from 1991 to 2001, has been accused of sexually abusing a student at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore in the 1970s.
Because Father Kolodziej was assigned to a local parish, the Diocese of Springfield also is publishing the notice below and urging anyone with knowledge of sexual abuse of a minor by any member of the clergy or other church personnel to contact Patricia McManamy, victim assistance coordinator for the Springfield Diocese, at 1-800-842-9055.
A copy of the notification also will be distributed at all Masses this weekend at St. Stanislaus Basilica.
The full text of the official announcement follows:
“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 Fr. Michael Kolodziej (kuh-low-jay), OFM Conv. Father Kolodziej is a member and former Minister Provincial of the Order, which has staffed Archbishop Curley High School since its founding.
“Father 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 Fr. 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 Fr. Kolodziej from all public ministry and the Archbishop has withdrawn Fr. 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 Fr. Kolodziej during his time at Archbishop Curley High School.
“Fr. 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, Fr. Kolodziej served as teacher and assistant principal at St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, NY (1979-82), principal at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Tonawanda, NY (1982-88), pastor at Holy Trinity Parish in Lawrence, MA (1988-91), rector at St. Stanislaus Basilica in Chicopee, MA (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.”