BUFFALO, New York — The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, New York, is firing back at a former assistant-turned-whistleblower who says Bishop Richard Malone should resign over his response to reports of clergy sexual misconduct.

In a statement just before midnight Tuesday, the diocese calls statements made by Siobhan O’Connor during an earlier news conference “embarrassingly contradictory.” It attached emails from O’Connor praising Malone.

“Her comments directly contradict her comments to him while she worked at the Chancery and even after she left. In fact, her prior, written communications to the Bishop demonstrate her complete admiration for the Bishop and his efforts to lead the Diocese,” the email said.

O’Connor secretly copied and leaked confidential files she says show Malone allowed an accused priest to remain on the job and excluded dozens of others from a list of problematic priests released publicly this year.

Malone has said he made mistakes with cases involving adult victims but never knowingly left a priest accused of child abuse in ministry.

O’Connor on Wednesday called the bishop’s response to her comments a “needless deflection” from the issues.

“There are many things I could say in response to each specific email he referenced or included, but this isn’t about me. This was never about me. This is about the survivors, our diocese, our community and our Church,” she said.

O’Connor was featured in a 60 Minutes report about the cover-up of abuse in Buffalo which was broadcast on CBS in the United States on Sunday.

Crux staff contributed to this report.