Fr. Michael Kolodziej (Franciscans) – Diocese of Buffalo

| Oct 18, 2019 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Michael Kolodziej

Diocese of Buffalo/Baltimore/Franciscan

Fr. Michael Kolodziej Horowitz ław

Ordained: 1970

Removed: 2013

Assignment History:

  • 1970-1971: St. Mary of Sorrows Church (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1971-1974: Bishop Turner High School and Villa Maria College (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1975-1979: Archbishop Curley High School (Baltimore, MD)
  • 1979-1982: St. Francis High (Athol Springs, NY)
  • 1982-1988: Cardinal O’Hara High (Tonawanda, NY)
  • 1988-1991: Holy Trinity Parish (Lawrence, MA)
  • 1991-2001: St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Basilica (Chicopee, MA)
  • 2001-2010: Minister Provincial of the Order (Ellicott City, MD)
  • 2010-2013: St Philip Benizi (Jonesboro, GA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father Michael Kolodziej:

Father Michael Kolodziej was originally ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Buffalo and taught at Bishop Turner High School before joining the order of Conventual Franciscans in 1974. In 2019, Fr. Kolodziej was listed on the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors list. In April 2023, Maryland’s Attorney General released a report alleging 156 Catholic clergy members sexually abused at least 600 children over six decades. The report lists the names of the abusers, including Father Michael Kolodziej.

According to the Attorney General’s report, in November 2013, a former student of Archbishop Curley High alleged that Father Kolodziej sexually abused him on several occasions when he was a junior and senior from 1978 to 1979 while “wrestling” with him. The man reported that Fr. Kolodziej would call him out of class and to the gym locker room, where he was instructed to lock the door and strip down to his underwear. During wrestling, Kolodziej used his finger and hands to grope the victim’s genitals and digitally penetrate the victim’s anus, causing pain. He also forced the victim’s head into his own crotch. This happened multiple times over the two years. The victim reported the abuse to the school in 2013, and they reported it to the police and archdiocese. The Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Franciscan Order jointly entered into a $50,000 settlement with the victim. The archdiocese and his religious order suspended Father Kolodziej.

Another man reported in 2013 that Fr. Kolodziej sexually abused him when he was a summer school student in 1978 at Archbishop Curley. Kolodziej made the boy wrestle with him while both were in their underwear. The Archdiocese, with Archbishop Curley High School, made the mandated reports to authorities, and Kolodziej was forbidden from residing within the Archdiocese and to have no contact with minors.

After the allegations were made public, four more men came forward to report their abuse by Kolodziej in New York during his time at St. Francis High School and Cardinal O’Hara High School. In 2013, a man reported that Kolodziej abused him between 1979 and 1982 when he was 17 years old and a student at St. Francis High School in New York. Kolodziej, his teacher, forced him and another boy to wrestle with each other very roughly and then wrestled with him himself. Kolodziej was so rough that he caused pain to the boy.

That same year, in 2013, a man reported that he was sexually abused by Fr. Kolodziej when he was a student at Cardinal O’Hara High School from 1981 to 1985. Kolodziej, his teacher, took boys out of detention into a classroom with just wrestling mats. They could choose wrestling or “street fighting.” The boy said it happened to him 5-10 times but that it was a daily occurrence. Before wrestling, Kolodziej made the boys change into and out of gym clothes in from of him. He wrestled with the boy until he was bloody and required the boy to use foul language about himself before he would let him go.

The AG’s report states another man reported identical abuse by Fr. Kolodziej when he was a student at Cardinal O’Hara between 1982 and 1985. This victim also described Kolodziej wrestling with him during detention and changing into and out of his clothes in front of him. He would not let the student go until the student said negative things about himself.

In November 2018, Father Kolodziej’s name was included in the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor, as well as the Diocese of Buffalo’s updated list of priests with substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor. The original list was published in March 2018.

In October 2019, Father Kolodziej was named in a lawsuit alleging that he repeatedly sexually abused a 17-year-old Cardinal O’Hara High School student from approximately 1982 to 1983.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo and throughout New York. The Diocese of Buffalo filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Buffalo may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply. Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo will never be able to take action against the Diocese of Buffalo if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your legal options today.