Buffalo Diocese Ponders Whether to Reveal Names of Abusive Priests

Mar. 11, 2018
Bishop Richard J. Malone apologizes for past sexual abuse by preists in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo during a news conference Thursday, March 1, 2018. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)
Bishop Richard J. Malone apologizes for past sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo during a news conference Thursday, March 1, 2018. 

Bishop Richard J. Malone is reconsidering a longstanding Catholic Diocese of Buffalo policy that withholds the names of priests who have been accused of sexual abuse.

Publicizing the names of clergy alleged to have molested children would reverse a tradition that’s been in place for more than 15 years.

“We’re looking at it anew,” Malone said following his recent announcement that the diocese has established a new fund to compensate victims of clergy sex abuse.

A retired priest’s admission in February that he molested “probably dozens” of boys in the 1970s and 1980s re-ignited concerns that clergy sexual abuse in Western New York was more devastating and widespread than accounts provided so far by diocesan leaders. The Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits admitted the abuse to The News after a South Buffalo resident accused the priest of molesting him on a ski trip in the early 1980s. The admissions prompted additional allegations against Orsolits, as well as new public accusations against other priests.

Victims’ advocates for years have called for greater transparency from the diocese, including the release of names of clergy alleged to have molested children. Withholding names, they argue, fosters secrecy that allows the abuse scandal to fester.
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