St. Peter priest removed amid investigation


BY BILL GUIDA
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bguida@kenoshanews.com

An ongoing investigation has led to the removal of the Rev. Ireneusz Chodakowski as pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church.

The probe, according to a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, is for Chodakowki’s alleged “lack of good judgment” regarding use of social media.

An anonymous parishioner told the Kenosha News that Chodakowski is “accused of using his Facebook account to share pornography, primarily with adults, but occasionally with minors.”

The parishioner said he was at Saturday’s Mass when the Rev. Bill Hayward read a prepared statement saying Chodakowski would be replaced by another priest “for at at least three weeks until somebody else could replace him more permanently.”

According to the parishioner, Chodakowski allegedly rebuffed a parish employee’s requests that he “make changes in the video content of his Facebook account,” apparently to prevent minors from seeing “pornographic images (Chodakowski) was distributing.”

That employee, the parishioner said, then attempted to contact the Rev. Kazimir Chwalek, the provincial superior of Chodakowski’s religious order, the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception based in Stonebridge, Mass.

When Chwalek apparently did not return the employee’s phone messages, the employee called the archdiocese, and officials there instructed Chwalek “to act immediately” as the allegations against Chodakowski “would likely result in a felony charge.”

Porn charge denied

Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf confirmed Chodakowski’s removal and temporary appointment of Hayward, who is pastor of Holy Rosary Catholic Church and Parish, as St. Peter administrator in Chodakowski’s absence.

Wolf denied that Chodakowski was removed due to sharing pornography with adults and minors.

However, Wolf said, “This does have to do with his personal Facebook page and what police are saying is ‘lack of good judgment’ regarding use of his page. However, we’re investigating just what that means.”

For now, she added, “it’s in the hands of the police. I can also tell you that this situation is being investigated, and everyone is cooperating with the authorities as they investigate it.”

Capt. Eric Larsen of the Kenosha Police Department said Tuesday an investigation began late last week “involving a local priest and that questionable use of Facebook is involved.”

Larsen delinced to identify whether Chodakowski is the subject involved.

Chwalek did not return Kenosha News messages left Tuesday on his cellphone and office email.

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