Retired Buffalo priest placed on administrative leave after allegations of abuse surface

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A retired Buffalo priest, who still helps in parish ministry, has been placed on administrative leave after allegations of abuse were levied against 83-year-old Rev. Msgr. James G. Kelly.

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo says a complaint was filed anonymously pursuant to the Child Victims Act. The complaint wasn’t served directly to the diocese, it was discovered “during a recent search of publicly filed complaints.”

Msgr. Kelly denied committing any acts of abuse. The diocese notified the Erie County District Attorney’s office and contacted the plaintiff’s attorney after learning of the complaint. The matter has also been reported to their Independent Review Board — responsible for appointing an independent investigator. 

The diocese says they’re working to see if the victim is willing to participate in an investigation.

While waiting for a response from the victim, a second person filed an anonymous complaint against Kelly. This person alleged they were abused by the 83-year-old in the early 1980s.

Bishop Michael Fisher placed Msgr. Kelly on administrative leave ahead of an independent investigator being appointed.

“As a result, Bishop Fisher has decided to place Msgr. Kelly on administrative leave pending a thorough investigation by the appointed independent investigator and a final determination by the Independent Review Board.  Bishop Fisher wishes to emphasize that the decision to place Msgr. Kelly on administrative leave at this time is in no way intended to indicate his guilt or is it a determination about the truth or falsity of the complaints,” the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo said in a news release.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.

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