Man admits to sending death threats to Buffalo reporter who covered Catholic Church sex scandals

Buffalo, NY – A man in western New York has pleaded guilty this week after being accused of sending death threats to a Buffalo TV reporter who covered Catholic Church sex scandals, said federal prosecutors.

Paul E. Lubienecki, 63, of Hamburg, admitted on Tuesday that he left up to six threatening voicemails for the journalist between August 20, 2019 and February 4, 2020, according to a press release issued by the US prosecutor’s office for the ‘Where is. New York neighborhood.

The voicemails, which came from an unknown number, referred to the reporter’s coverage of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which appeared on Channel 7 WKBW, federal prosecutors said.

The reporter spoke to a Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent about a 12-second voicemail message where a caller criticized the reporter’s professionalism, mentioned the city the reporter lived in, and told him he was going to find him. and kill him, according to federal court documents. . This message was received on February 4, 2020.

The reporter also said he received threat messages from an unknown number in August, November and December 2019, according to the documents.

The special agent then used cell phone records provided by T-Mobile to connect the unknown number to Lubienecki, according to the documents. The agent also used a 2017 speech by Lubienecki about John Timon, the first bishop of Buffalo, to identify his voice in the messages, the documents said.

Prosecutors did not identify the journalist, but WKBW reported that threats had been made against one of its journalists, Charlie Specht.

With Lubienecki’s guilty plea on Tuesday before US District Judge Richard J. Arcara, he could face up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $ 250,000, prosecutors said.

His sentencing is scheduled for November 9, they said.

Writer James McClendon covers breaking news, crime and public safety. A tip, a story idea, a question or a comment? Contact him at 914-204-2815 or [email protected].

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