The Rt. Rev. Susan Brown Snook, bishop, expressed deep concern today (23 July 2019) about the allegations of sexual misconduct brought against the Rev. Paul Kowalewski. The neighboring Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, where the Rev. Kowalewski is canonically resident, has placed him under a suspension of ministry until the matter is resolved. Under this restriction, he will not be able to exercise his ordained ministry until further investigation can be conducted. Accordingly, Bishop Brown Snook has notified churches where the Rev. Kowalewski has served occasionally as a substitute priest, though not an employee, that they should comply with the restriction issued by the Diocese of Los Angeles. She took this action in response to a lawsuit brought by Ms. Patricia Harner regarding alleged sexual assault when Kowalewski was a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Buffalo.
“We regret deeply the misconduct of any clergy person in any church,” said Bishop Brown Snook. “We will cooperate fully with the investigation that will be conducted by the Diocese of Los Angeles and any other authorities. Clergy have a sacred position of trust. We take seriously all complaints, and research them thoroughly.”
The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego will follow the rules and guidelines of the clergy disciplinary laws of the Episcopal Church (Title IV), which are outlined here: www.titleiv.org. The Diocese scrutinizes all potential clergy members who wish to exercise ministry in our diocese. All clergy and lay leaders must undergo extensive misconduct prevention training before they are allowed to exercise any office of pastoral ministry. More information on the diocesan training is available here: www.edsd.org/safeguard.
The Diocese condemns sexual misconduct by clergy and other church workers in the strongest terms. It has clear rules that define what misconduct is and how it will be disciplined. The Diocese also investigates all claims through the Title IV process.