ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse and unwanted physical contact dating to the 1980s is stepping away from his official duties while diocese officials investigate the allegations.

Newsday reported the Diocese of Rockville Center, which covers Long Island, will be looking into the allegations against Msgr. William Breslawski, who has been serving as the pastor of the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in Rocky Point, New York.

The diocese said a letter had come Sept. 25 accusing Breslawski of sexually abusing a relative of the writer's, a middle-school-age child, and referenced a previous complaint about it that had been made in 2002.

A review of files earlier this year had found a notation that said an individual in 2002 had made a complaint, saying a friend who would have been in seventh- or eighth-grade in 1980 had been abused by Breslawski, who was ordained in 1979, diocese spokesman Sean Dolan said.

The diocese in 2002 told the person making the allegation to have the friend contact officials directly, but nothing came of it, Dolan said. The diocese did try to investigate to find out more, including who the alleged victim could be, and gave the name of the person who made the 2002 complaint to law enforcement in June of this year, Dolan said.

The diocese also found another complaint from 2002 from two individuals, both adults, who said Breslawski had an "inappropriate interaction" with them in 1984, including unwanted physical contact with one of them, Dolan said.

"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.

A message seeking comment from Breslawski, left at his church office by The Associated Press, was not returned.

The area prosecutor's office said that it had been contacted by the diocese but that the statute of limitations on a prosecution had run out.


This story has been updated to change an incorrect reference to the sexual abuse of a "boy" to "middle-school-age child." The gender of the victim isn't mentioned in the letter.


Information from: Newsday,

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