Fredonia Adjunct Professor Charged
An adjunct professor at SUNY Fredonia is facing charges for allegedly threatening a Buffalo television reporter.
U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. announced Wednesday that Paul E. Lubienecki, 62, of Hamburg, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with cyberstalking. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, stated that on Feb. 4, a member of the Buffalo television media, received a voicemail that contained a death threat. The reporter has been reporting on the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo clergy sex abuse scandal for the past two years, and on that day, the reporter had posted a story that Christ the King Seminary was being closed by the Diocese.
According to the complaint, the caller criticized the reporter’s professionalism before stating: “I know where you live in (town). I’m going to find you. I’m going to kill you.”
The complaint further states that the reporter received other harassing voicemails from a number associated with the defendant during August, November, and December of 2019. All told, 11 harassing phone calls were made from the phone number associated with Lubienecki to the reporter.
WKBW-TV in Buffalo stated on their website the victim was their reporter, Charlie Specht, who has won state and national awards for his investigations of the Diocese of Buffalo.
In a news conference in Buffalo, Kennedy said Lubienecki used a pre-paid phone to make the alleged calls.
Kennedy further alleged that on Dec. 2, which was the day Bishop Richard Malone resigned, Lubienecki made harassing phone calls to two other individuals who work in the media.
“Members of the media are entitled to the same level of protection from the crime of cyber stalking as the general public — no more, no less,” he said.
Lubienecki made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder and was released on conditions. His next court appearance is set for Feb. 21.
The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of special agent-in-charge Gary Loeffert.
Lubienecki is listed as an adjunct lecturer at SUNY Fredonia, who teaches history.
Marketing and Communications Director Jeffrey Woodard issued the following statement on behalf of the college: “We are aware that an adjunct faculty member has been arrested on charges not related to his employment or work with students. We are following the case as it goes through the legal process, and we will cooperate with authorities as needed. The Provost’s Office will work with students to ensure classes continue as scheduled.”
Kennedy said the maximum sentence is five years in prison. His office noted that the fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.