A priest who formerly served in Indiana County has been removed from his ministry in the Fay-West area south of Greensburg and relieved of all parish duties pending an investigation of an allegation.
“The diocese received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Fr. Andrew Kawecki dating back 15 years,” the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg stated Monday night.
“As per diocesan policy the allegation was phoned into the PA ChildLine, and the appropriate district attorney was contacted,” the statement continued. “The investigation is now in the hands of law enforcement.”
From 2002 to 2004 Kawecki, a native of Gdansk, Poland, served as pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, which serves Ernest, Clymer, Glen Campbell, Heilwood and Rossiter in northern Indiana County.
Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty this morning said the matter has not been referred to his office because the accusations are not connected with Kawecki's service in the Clymer parish.
“A credible allegation does not mean it has been substantiated or proven,” the diocese stressed. “This announcement in no way implies Father Kawecki is guilty.”
He was transferred to St. John the Baptist parish in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, where he served as pastor, and St. Joseph parish in Everson, Fayette County, where he served as administrator.
“As per diocesan policy, Father Kawecki was removed from his place of ministry and relieved of all parish duties within 24 hours of the allegation and will remain on leave until authorities complete their investigation,” the diocese said.
“We know how important our actions and level of transparency are to survivors, parishioners and clergy. That is why we are making this public announcement while the investigation is ongoing.”
The diocese said it would be in touch with parishioners in Scottdale and Everson this weekend and would provide for pastoral care of the two churches.
NOTE: This article edited at 1 p.m. to reflect new information on the law enforcement investigation of the allegations.