BROCKWAY – A pastor serving in a Brockway parish and on a DuBois-area school board has been removed from active ministry amid allegations of sexual misconduct during his time at an Erie church in the 1980s.
According to a press release from the Erie Diocese, Msgr. Charles Kaza, pastor of St. Tobias Parish in Brockway and president of DuBois Central Catholic School Board, has been placed on administrative leave, restricting him from active ministry, following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
The office of Most Rev. Lawrence Persico, the Bishop of the Diocese of Erie, states that the allegations were forwarded to Persico's office and to the diocese's independent investigators, K&L Gates law firm, by the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General.
K&L Gates conducted a preliminary investigation, and Kaza was placed on leave while further investigation is underway, according to the release.
Kaza's leave took effect May 13. It is unclear when the Diocese received the allegations.
The abuse is alleged to have taken place while Kaza was serving at St. John the Baptist Parish in Erie in the 1980s, according to the release.
Persico's office says the diocese is "fully cooperating" with the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General, citing the diocese's Policy for the Protection of Children, a charter that defines the code of conduct for all diocese employees and the proper methods for reporting sexual misconduct.
The diocese also indicated that it will continue its own investigation of the allegations.
The release indicated that Kaza, a resident of the St. Tobias Parish, will be staying at a private home with family while the investigation takes place.
Persico has named Father Leo Gallina as temporary administrator of St. Tobias Parish, effective May 20. Gallina will be in residence at the parish beginning May 28.
"Pastoral care and compassion for victims, as well as the protection of children and vulnerable adults, is a top priority of the Diocese of Erie," the release states. "The diocese encourages anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or misconduct by a member of the clergy or any employee or volunteer of the church, to contact law enforcement."