Buffalo bishop says it is 'unfortunate' O'Malley didn't 'check facts' on abuse report

Buffalo bishop says it is ‘unfortunate’ O’Malley didn’t ‘check facts’ on abuse report

Buffalo bishop says it is ‘unfortunate’ O’Malley didn’t ‘check facts’ on abuse report

Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, N.Y., in a 2015 file photo. (Credit: Bob Roller/CNS.)

Buffalo Bishop Robert Malone says it’s “unfortunate” Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley didn’t contact the Diocese of Buffalo before forwarding complaints against the bishop to the pope’s representative to the United States.

Buffalo Bishop Robert Malone says it’s “unfortunate” Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley didn’t contact the Diocese of Buffalo before forwarding complaints against the bishop to the pope’s representative to the United States.

Buffalo television station WKBW-TV aired a three-part series documenting church records that showed more than 100 priests in the diocese were accused of sexual abuse or misconduct, despite the fact Malone in March released a list of only 42 priests “who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.”

O’Malley’s office earlier this week told the television station the cardinal was “deeply concerned by the absence of recognition of the abuse experienced by the survivors and the responses or absence of response provided to the survivors.”

O’Malley serves as the head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Although the office has no authority over particular complaints of abuse or cover-up, the cardinal earlier this year promised to review all information he received and forward it to the competent authority if needed.

“It is the Cardinal’s assessment that the information in your reports should be reviewed by the Church authorities who have oversight and jurisdiction for the action or inaction of diocesan leadership in Buffalo with regard to the reports of abuse,” O’Malley’s spokesman said in an email to 7 Eyewitness News.

“For those reasons, Cardinal O’Malley will send the documentation of your reports to the Most Rev. Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, with note of the content and allegations in the reports,” the spokesman said.

In a statement sent to WKBW-TV, the Diocese of Buffalo said the television “misrepresented the truth about how the Diocese of Buffalo did in fact respond to both child and adult victims of clerical misconduct” and added it was “unfortunate that Cardinal O’Malley never contacted the Diocese of Buffalo to check on the facts and hear our side of the story.”

“Every victim who reports abuse, whether abused as a minor or as an adult, is offered a meeting with a bishop. Bishop Malone himself has met with many victims, whether they suffered abuse as a child or as an adult,” the statement said.

“Bishop Malone is instituting a series of institutional changes to ensure the diocese treats cases of adult abuse with the same care, compassion and responsiveness with which it has responded to instances of child abuse,” it continued.

The statement also said Malone “welcomes any review” with the papal representative to the United States.

Malone has been facing calls to resign after an investigation found he allowed multiple priests accused of misconduct to continue in ministry.

Although he has acknowledged “past inadequacies” in his handling of abuse claims, he says he will not step down.

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