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Priest Suspended After Misconduct Allegations

Priest pulled from public ministry.
ALTOONA - A priest with the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese has been suspended after allegations of sexual misconduct stemming from the 1980s. The Diocese released the following statement today:

        "The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown has received notice from the Order of Friars Minor Conventual that Rev. Michael Lewandowski, OFM Conv., has been suspended from public ministry due to an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor that occurred in the 1980s.

        Father Lewandowski has served in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown since 1997 as pastor of Saint Anne Parish in Davidsville. This action taken by the Franciscan Order was made according to Church policies for the protection of minors. Parishioners were informed at weekend Masses.

        Upon receipt of this notice from the Franciscan Order, Bishop Mark L. Bartchak has withdrawn Father Lewandowski’s faculties to function as a priest in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

        Officials of the Franciscan Order (Our Lady of the Angels Province, Ellicott City, MD) have reported the allegation to civil authorities. The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the Franciscan Order are unaware of any other allegations of misconduct against Father Lewandowski.

        The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the Franciscan Friars are committed to protecting
children and helping to heal victims of abuse. Anyone who has knowledge of child sexual abuse
is urged to report it directly and immediately to the proper state or local authorities. The
Diocesan Victim’s Advocate may also be contacted at (814) 695-5579."


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