NJ seminary professor arrested for death threat against reporter

NJ seminary professor arrested for death threat against reporter February 14, 2020

7 Eyewitness News reporter Charlie Specht won state and national awards for his investigations of child abuse within the Diocese of Buffalo.

Charlie Specht (inset) and Paul Lubienecki , who allegedly threatened to kill him. Images via Facebook and 7 Eyewitness News.

But his reporting so angered Paul Lubienecki, an adjunct professor at Christ the King Seminary, that he began cyberstalking Specht and went as far as to issue a death threat.

Lubienecki was arrested this week in connection with threats made to Specht as well as others and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Specht had been receiving harassing voicemails from a threatening caller for nearly six months.

Before calling Specht’s cell phone and leaving threatening messages, the caller blocked his number, so the caller’s identity was unknown to Specht and 7 Eyewitness News until charges were filed on Wednesday.

The voicemails began in August 2019, just as the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team reported on scandals at Christ the King Seminary, where multiple seminarians quit the seminary because of alleged abuse and corruption in the diocese.

The messages referenced members of Specht’s family and urged Specht to stop his reporting on the diocese.

One voicemail warned.

You’re still a bad Catholic and a horrible reporter. I hope to God I don’t see you walking around.

Instead, the I-Team’s pace of reporting increased, with the publishing of “The Malone Recordings” in September, a Vatican investigation of the diocese in October and Bishop Richard Malone’s resignation in early December.

Image via YouTube

On December 4, the day Malone, above, resigned over his cover-ups of clerical abuse, the caller contacted whistleblower Siobhan O’Connor and said:

You destroyed the Diocese of Buffalo and Bishop Malone. I’m gonna destroy your career.

The next day, the caller said to O’Connor in a voicemail:

I love the bishop. Now you got rid of him. I hope you burn in hell

To a second whistleblower, Fr Ryszard Biernat, a victim of abuse when he was a seminarian and the man who revealed recordings that showed Malone concealed sexual harassment allegations against a diocesan priest, the caller said:

You destroyed a good bishop, a good man. Leave the priesthood . . . We’ll get ya.

On February 4, hours after the diocese announced the closure of Christ the King Seminary, Specht gave a live report from the seminary. Moments later, the caller left a voicemail which said:

You must be so happy the seminary’s closing. You’re a bad person. I know where you live … I’m gonna find you. I’m gonna kill you.

Specht called the police and within hours, 7 Eyewitness News’ parent company, the E W Scripps Co, made plans for Specht, his wife and children to leave their home and spend much of the next week living at an undisclosed location with around-the-clock protection from a private security firm.

Said Specht:

We were shocked, surprised and scared,. I got the feeling that this one person – whoever they were –  had spent months harassing me about really personal things, and was now threatening violence. I wanted my family to be safe. We put our trust in law enforcement to find out who was doing this.

After Lubienecki’s arrest, the reporter said:

We are grateful that federal prosecutors and the FBI made this a priority. Criticism of news reporting is acceptable and even welcomed. But making personal threats against a reporter for simply doing his job goes against the entire American belief in a free press.

Buffalo’s FBI Special Agent in Charge, Gary Loeffert said:

The arrest of Mr. Lubienecki Is further proof we will not allow people to use threats of violence to voice their option or amplify their message.

Image via YouTube

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, above, Buffalo’s Apostolic Administrator of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese said in this report that the threats against the reporter were both “un-Christian and un-American.”

He stopped short of mentioning Specht by name but said the Catholic Church needs to withstand the media attention that has grown out of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

There is no place – nor should there be any tolerance – for threats or harassment towards members of the news media or anyone else. This is against who we are as Christians but also against our nation’s founding principles that guarantee freedom to the press and freedom of speech.

When asked about Lubienecki’s arrest, the diocese initially declined comment and cited the ongoing criminal prosecution. It did, however, confirm that Lubienecki had been put on leave from his position as an adjunct professor at the seminary.

Yesterday (Thursday) Scharfenberger issued a statement condemning the threats.

As a church we must be able to withstand the glaring light of scrutiny – even as we seek to pierce the darkness with our own light, demonstrating Christ’s abundant love, forgiveness and care for  us all.

"No one highjacked Rapert's poll. The majority of voters were Christians and Jason Rapert knows ..."

Christian lawmaker blames atheists & gays ..."
"Progressive traditionalism? Jumbo shrimp? Swiss cheese?"

Orthodox rabbi in New York conducts ..."
"Oy vey. Judaism: 2200+ years of being backwards and primitive."

Orthodox rabbi in New York conducts ..."
""The list includes Nobel laureates like Elie Wiesel and Mother Teresa, and once-in-a generation creative ..."

OMM pick another fight with Disney, ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • kaydenpat

    Covering up child molesting — good.
    Revealing the coverup — bad.

    So glad this terrorist was caught and is facing imprisonment. His morality is skewed to say the least.

  • “But making personal threats against a reporter for simply doing his job goes against the entire American belief in a free press.”

    Welcome to TrumpMurKKKa.

    The OSG has somehow convinced the cockroaches that the kitchen light isn’t really on, so they’re not scurrying for cover but blatantly broadcasting their hatred of humanity.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    And they will know we are Christians by our love….

  • Broga

    “You destroyed the Diocese of Buffalo and Bishop Malone. I’m gonna destroy your career.”

    This one sentence, of hate and threat, shows that whoever sent it has lost the argument and any moral ascendency before he even wrote it. I say “whoever” because this method has been used by “people of faith” throughout the centuries. In the past, burning at the stake was an option but this is no longer available.

  • Jim Jones

    And to think that these people pompously proclaim that they are our moral superiors! And can instruct us!

  • Jim Jones

    Religion is spread by four basic methods:

    Deceit
    Fear
    Tor​ture
    Mur​der

    It is always thus.

  • Raging Bee

    Oops, no tenure for that adjunct professor!

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Notice it went from wish fulfillment:
    “I HOPE you burn in Hell.” Which is a hope/wish. “I hope Santa brings me what I want” is similarly harmless.

    But then goes to:
    We’ll get ya”
    I’m gonna find you.”

    If you believe your God is all powerful, why would you need to do anything? Isn’t he going to handle all the good and bad people?

    Further proof these types don’t believe in god-given justice as much as personally instilling their own privilege and revenge, and saying “God wants this. I’m doing his will.”

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Rooted in selfishness and greed.
    God loves Me, Me, Me.
    God will bless Me, Me, Me.
    I better make sure God doesn’t punish Me, Me, Me.

  • guerillasurgeon

    “I’m gonna find you. I’m gonna ‮llik‬ you.”

    How…………. Christian of him.
    So the net Nanny won’t even let you quote.

  • Broga

    And when they are in a minority and lack power they argue for tolerance and freedom to practice their religion. When they get power the deny all tolerance and freedom to everyone else who doesn’t agree with them. And they come down very hard, by the methods you describe, on any dissidents.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    … and God hates that guy over there…

  • DeadBabyJoke

    Such a “Good Christian.” /s

  • Judy Thompson

    scary times we live in, when we have to be afraid of the godly

  • Barry Duke

    When was a time when we the godly didn’t scare the bejesus out of us?

  • orion dumptee

    really….total bunch of control freak nutjobs, ,and i thought they all lived in the southern Savannah states…silly me..

  • orion dumptee

    what a psycho….Hitchens was correct….. Religion POISONS everything…..

  • S. Arch

    Anyone here who hasn‘t received a death threat from a Christian?

  • Matt G

    It seems to me that the “destruction” of the diocese and Malone was caused by the diocese and Malone.

  • One of millions, unfortunately.

  • Lauren Greene

    I used to get death threats and threats of physical harm from kkkrist-stains when I was on Facebook, and d**k pics from the men.

  • DeadBabyJoke

    But they wonder why people dislike and hate them. Gee, I wonder why?

  • David Cromie

    Churches have never welcomed the ‘light of scrutiny’, preferring to perpetrate their scurrilous lies, scams, and deceit in the darkness. Never have they sought to ‘pierce the darkness with our ‘own light’ (?), demonstrating Christ’s abundant love, forgiveness and care for us all’, but opt to cover up, or ignore wrongdoing for fear that it will scandalise the church, and drive away the sheeple.

    Scharfenberger is a liar and hypocrite who has never demonstrated ‘Christ’s abundant love, forgiveness and care for us all’ when it comes to the victims of the church’s predatory priests, for example.

  • Machintelligence

    God is often busy, and His aim is none too good; better to handle it yourself. /snark

  • DeadBabyJoke

    Don’t forget their focus on pretend persecution.

  • Martybation is the favorite pastime of some of the trollz who gather on the blogs.

  • DeadBabyJoke

    There was some fuckwit69, I forget who, who was just recently claiming that they were being persecuted for their beliefs because we proved them wrong on their beliefs and because we were mocking them. I said that (s)he wasn’t being persecuted, (s)he was just a crybaby throwing a hissy fit. Seriously, what was this idiot69 expecting when coming to an ATHEIST website?

  • “Seriously, what was this idiot69 expecting when coming to an ATHEIST website?”

    That we might treat them with Unchristian decency?

  • DeadBabyJoke

    I have no problem treating them with decency, as long as it’s a two-way street. Most don’t really have an interest in debating, providing logical arguments or evidence to back up their claims, they’re usually just interested in preaching, insulting, or criticizing us. Nor do these same @$$holes admit that they’re wrong, that they don’t know their holy book/religion NEARLY AS well as they think that they do, and we’re generally more knowledgeable on the subject. ESPECIALLY since most of them aren’t willing to question their beliefs. It’s pretty rare to come across a religious person who is not only willing to question their beliefs, but putting a GENUINE effort forward to understanding our point of view and why we hold them in the first place.

  • If they were willing to question their faith they wouldn’t be getting insulted or banned.

    That’s because they wouldn’t be here, Whinin’ANDLyin’4JEEZUZ.

  • DeadBabyJoke

    Like I said, it’s pretty rare to come across such people. That most certainly doesn’t describe most religious people that I come across on these websites. Most of them are idiots and @$$holes.

  • Well, it seems that they are at least the most vocal and least intelligent, for sure.

  • DeadBabyJoke

    That’s most DEFINITELY true. That’s the type of jerkoff69 that I come across the most often.

  • Most decent, honest people that I know are either not pushy about their religion or they simply don’t have one.