A Roman Catholic priest has stepped aside from his ministry while church officials investigate allegations that he sexually abused a middle schooler nearly 40 years ago and had "an inappropriate interaction” with two adults in the 1980s, the Diocese of Rockville Centre said.
Msgr. William G. Breslawski agreed to step away while the diocese investigates those allegations, Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the diocese, said Saturday.
Breslawski, who was ordained a priest in 1979, most recently served as the pastor of the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua in Rocky Point. He could not be reached for comment.
“We are saddened by these allegations, and we will do everything we can to ensure that a fair and just determination is made,” Dolan said.
While reviewing files earlier this year, the diocese found a notation regarding a complaint an individual made in 2002 alleging that in 1980 Breslawski had sexually abused a friend of the individual when the friend was in 7th or 8th grade, Dolan said.
In 2002 the diocese encouraged the individual to have the friend contact church officials directly with the allegation, but the friend did not do so then and has not to date, Dolan said. The alleged victim remains anonymous.
The diocese has investigated the allegation to try to learn more about it, including the identity of the victim, he said.
On Sept. 25, the diocese received a letter from a relative of the alleged victim, which indicated knowledge of the same allegation made in 2002.
The diocese gave the name and contact information of the original reporter of the alleged abuse to the Nassau and Suffolk district attorneys' offices on June 5, Dolan said.
During its investigation, the diocese also discovered a second complaint made against Breslawski in 2002, by two individuals who said that on the same occasion in 1984 the priest “had an inappropriate interaction with them, which included unwanted physical contact for one of the complainants,” Dolan said.
Both individuals were adults at the time of the alleged incident.
The Nassau and Suffolk district attorneys were given updated information on the cases on Friday, he said.
The Nassau District Attorney's Office confirmed Saturday that it was contacted by the diocese, but it "appears the statute of limitations would preclude a prosecution."
Breslawski also has served as pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Peace in Lynbrook and the Church of the Holy Cross in Nesconset, and as associate pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst and the Church of Saint Catherine of Sienna in Franklin Square.
Earlier this month another priest cleared of allegations of sexual abuse 20 years ago stepped away from his duties because of new allegations against him, the diocese said.
The Rev. Brian J. Brinker, 61, is accused of sexual abuse of a minor, Dolan said on Sept. 7. The alleged abuse occurred from 1993 to 1997, though Dolan declined to say where or under what circumstances.
Most recently, Brinker had been a chaplain at Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center in West Islip, Dolan said.