A former priest has publicly named a now-deceased priest, who served in Elk County, as having sexually abused him when he was a teenager in the Erie area.
James Faluszczak, 48, of Buffalo, N.Y., told The Courier-Express of DuBois that the Rev. Monsignor Daniel J. Martin abused him. Martin served as pastor of St. Boniface Parish, Kersey, in 1962, and as headmaster of Elk County Christian — now Elk County Catholic — until 1970. Martin died in 2006 at age 88.
Faluszczak says he was one of many witnesses to testify before a grand jury around September 2016 to investigate sex abuse allegations in dioceses throughout Pennsylvania, according to the Erie-Times News.
Faluszczak said that Martin molested him when he was 16 to 19 years old at St. George and Mount Calvary churches and Mercyhurst College, now Mercyhurst University, in the Erie area. Martin relied on knowledge of the Faluszczak family’s hardships in the 1980s “to groom” him for the alleged abuse, according to The Courier-Express.
“Most people would see this as irony but it’s really pathology,” Faluszczak told the newspaper.
Even though he was abused, Faluszczak became a priest in 1996 and served nearly 20 years in the ministry. He also served, as Martin did, at Elk County Catholic and the St. Boniface Parish in Kersey. Faluszczak also served as a campus minister at Clarion University.
As a result of abuse, Faluszczak said he faced post-traumatic stress disorder, bringing him panic attacks, particularly at the altar of St. Boniface. The alleged abuse resulted in him to drink periodically; he was charged with a DUI in Fox Township in 2014.
Sam MacDonald, president of Elk County Catholic School System, also provided a statement on the matter.
“Father Daniel Martin was assigned to Elk County Christian High School from 1962 to 1971, and served in the role of principal and headmaster. I was not aware of any allegations against him until we saw the recent statements in the Erie-Times News,” he said. “Our first priority at Elk County Catholic is the safety and security of our students. The Diocese of Erie, along with the school system, takes these issues very seriously, and we follow strict policies to ensure that we maintain a healthy and nurturing environment in our schools. We are committed to cooperating with any investigation associated with these accusations, and we will continue to pray for everyone involved.”