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NEW YORK: Lawyer says priest admits sex assault

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ather Secondo Casarotto admits sexual assault of parishonerBUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Disturbing allegations are coming to light about a Buffalo priest.

After 25 years at a downtown Catholic church, Father Secondo Casarotto has been removed. Many who regularly attend St. Anthony of Padua are wondering why. During weekend masses, only a statement from the Diocese of Buffalo was read to parishioners, leaving many with questions.

News 4 has learned that an adult female parishioner accused the priest of sexual abuse back in 2009. The woman's lawyer sent us a Buffalo Police report from 2011, alleging forcible touching and sexual misconduct.

Attorney Adam Horowitz said, "She is a parishioner. She's a devout Catholic. She's from a family of devout Catholics. Her relationship with Father Casarotto was only through that context of priest and parishioner."

Kevin Keenan, a spokesman for the Diocese of Buffalo, says the bishop first learned of the allegations when recently contacted by the accuser's attorney. He says an internal investigation followed, which included a sit down with Father Secondo.

"Following that conversation ,he had him removed as the pastor of St. Anthony parish on January 12th. He's now on administrative leave," said Keenan.

"She asked me to contact the Diocese of Buffalo with a copy of her police report, and alert them to the fact that she had been sexually assaulted at the church in the priest's residence," said Horowitz.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita says the priest was not arrested and never charged. He says his accuser, "refused to cooperate in the investigation" and that there was "nothing to corroborate her claims."

Keenan says Father Secondo is a religious order priest and not a diocesan priest assigned to St. Anthony parish. Horowitz says Father Secondo admitted the assault to Buffalo Police.