Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher Makes Calculated Decision to Hide Names of Child Abusing Clergy

When a bishop is facing more than 900 survivors in bankruptcy court—resulting from hundreds of New York’s Child Victims’ Act civil lawsuits against his priests—reasonable people would believe that the bishop would take a different path from his predecessors who covered up abuse and protected predators.

But not Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher.

Or, if that same bishop has vowed “zero tolerance for any act of sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, toward a young person or adult” that he would—for the sake of prudence and risk management alone—remove a parish priest like Fr. Paul Nogaro, who has been twice sued for child sexual abuse. (To date, we do not know how many survivors have accused Nogaro in bankruptcy claims)

But not Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher.

Or, if brave survivors gathered the strength in the autumn of 2020 to talk to that bishop’s “investigator” to share their stories of abuse, the bishop would act swiftly to make public the names of the accused—especially if the men who sexually abused them as children were deceased and named in civil lawsuits.

But not Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher.

In fact, his almost year-long delay in announcing the names was not only cruel, his delay was nefarious and calculated.

It was cruel, because immediately sharing the names of the credibly accused can be hugely validating and healing for survivors, who spend a lifetime aching to be believed and who strive to prevent the crimes from happening again. Instead, Fisher waited, blaming his lay review board and the need to notify the next of kin of the deceased accused priests for his callous delay.

It was calculated and nefarious because Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher waited until after the closing dates of both the Child Victims’ Act and the Buffalo diocese’s federal bankruptcy deadline to make the names public. He waited until survivors were deprived of their rights. He waited until the suffering were forced back into silence. He waited until “the coast was clear.”

How difficult would it have been to release the names of the deceased two weeks ago, and then send a letter of apology to the family members of the accused? How many survivors could have been helped had he done that one simple thing?

But not Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher.

We doubt there will be a single apology letter to any of the survivors of the recently named men—an apology for the delay, an apology for an intentional act to silence survivors, or an apology for the callous disregard for his own promises of zero tolerance, healing, and child safety.

Our hearts ache for the survivors and any child who has now been put at risk of abuse. This should never have happened.