Bishop Richard J. Malone on Thursday returned a priest to active ministry despite a history of pornography problems and a looming federal investigation that may involve the priest.
Malone returned Rev. Robert A. Stolinski to “active ministry,” the diocese said in a statement, after abuse allegations against him “have not been substantiated.”
But the bishop’s own records — obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team — detail a long history of pornography found in rectories where Stolinski was living. The diocese made no mention of those incidences in its public statement Thursday.
Stolinski was sent to a “treatment center” in Canada twice but allegations continued to surface over the past two decades. He is retired but was allowed to hold a position “assisting clergy” at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Niagara Falls until his suspension last year, according to a church bulletin. It is unclear whether he will return to that church now that Malone and his diocesan review board has cleared him.
In 1987, when Father Joseph Bissonnette was murdered on Buffalo’s East Side, Stolinski was living in the same rectory and serving as chaplain at Erie County Medical Center.
“When the police investigated, they found a great deal of pornography (male homosexual pornography not involving children),” reads a passage in Bishop Malone’s “black binder” of diocesan secrets prepared for him by Terrence M. Connors and Lawrence J. Vilardo’s law firm when Malone became bishop in 2012.
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