Diocese of Erie: Msgr. Kaza removed from active ministry pending further investigation

Staff Writer

An allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Msgr. Charles Kaza, pastor of St. Tobias Parish, Brockway, and president of DuBois Central Catholic School Board, was forwarded to the Diocese of Erie and its independent investigators at the K&L Gates law firm by the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General.

As a result of this referral, K&L Gates has conducted a preliminary investigation. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie, has placed Msgr. Kaza on administrative leave, restricting him from active ministry, effective May 13, while further investigation is underway. Msgr. Kaza is cooperating with the investigation and is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. During the investigation, Msgr. Kaza will not be in residence at St. Tobias Parish; he will be living at a private home with family.
The abuse is alleged to have taken place while Msgr. Kaza was serving at St. John the Baptist Parish, Erie, in the 1980s.

In accordance with its Policy for the Protection of Chil-dren, the diocese will cooperate fully with Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and Erie County’s District Attorney. In addition, K&L Gates continues to conduct its investigation. Anyone with any information related to this case is asked to contact the Pennsylvania Attorney General at 1-888-538-8541 and K&L Gates at ErieRCD@klgates.com.

Bishop Persico has named Father Leo Gallina as the temporary administrator of St. Tobias Parish, effective May 20. Father Gallina will be in residence at the parish beginning May 28.

A release issued by the diocese said that “pastoral care and compassion for victims, as well as the protection of children and vulnerable adults, is a top priority of the Diocese of Erie. The diocese encourages anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or misconduct by a member of the clergy or any employee or volunteer of the church, to contact law enforcement. To report abuse to the independent investigators retained by the Diocese of Erie, email ErieRCD@KLGates.com.”

In addition, the release said, victims or concerned individuals can report abuse to ChildLine, an outreach of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, by calling 800-932-0313. The line is open 24/7, and callers may choose to remain anonymous.

Victims also are welcome to contact the diocese directly to report abuse at (814) 451-1543. Counseling assistance is available for victims and/or their families through the diocesan victim assistance coordinator, Dr. Robert Nelsen, who can be reached at (814) 451-1521.