A former seminary teacher admitted to stalking a reporter who was digging into abuse in the local Catholic diocese

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A former seminary teacher pleaded guilty to a federal charge of stalking a reporter who covered sexual abuse within the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. NurPhoto / Getty Images
  • A former seminary teacher pleaded guilty to stalking a reporter who dug into the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, New York.

  • Paul E. Lubienecki threatened to kill the reporter over his investigation into a sexual abuse scandal, according to WKBW.

  • The reporter also covered the closure of the seminary where Lubienecki had worked.

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A former seminary teacher on Tuesday pleaded guilty to a federal charge of stalking a reporter who covered sexual abuse within the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, New York.

Paul E. Lubienecki was arrested in June 2020 on suspicion of leaving threatening messages on the reporter's phone, according to The Buffalo News.

WKBW identified the reporter as Charlie Specht, who has produced numerous stories on abuse within the local Catholic diocese for that news station. Beginning in 2018, Specht led several investigations into Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone, which revealed that he mishandled sexual abuse cases within the diocese and lead to his eventual resignation.

Prosecutors said Lubienecki used a TracFone, a prepaid cellular phone with no caller ID number, to call the reporter at least six times between August 2019 and February 2020.

WKBW reported that Lubienecki made references to Specht's family and where they lived in the threatening phone calls, forcing them to move to an undisclosed location with private security for a week. "I'm gonna find you. I'm gonna kill you," Lubienecki said in one of the messages.

Lubienecki left messages threatening to kill Specht and his family over his reporting on the closing of Christ the King Seminary, where he'd worked, and a priest abuse scandal in the Diocese of Buffalo, according to WKBW.

Lubienecki faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 maximum fine. He is set to be sentenced in November.

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