Diocese of Buffalo’s Release of 42 Names Raises More Questions

Diocese of Buffalo’s Release of 42 Names Raises More Questions

(Buffalo, NY) – The time to tell the full truth is now. In analyzing the Diocese of Buffalo’s disclosure of 42 names of priests with allegations of child sexual abuse, several questions remain unanswered:

  • What safeguards are in place to protect children from these priests who are still alive today?
  • Are any of these alleged offenders still being paid by or cared for by the Diocese?
  • Why are there fewer names on the list now than there were 16 years ago?
  • What are the names of the additional priests whose names remain hidden by the Diocese?
  • Why aren’t all the names being disclosed?
  • Why is the assignment history showing which communities were exposed to these alleged perpetrators still hidden?
  • Have each of these priests been reported to law enforcement?
  • Why are the survivors empowered by this release of names still prohibited from participating in the Diocese compensation program?

On February 27, 2004, Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Cunningham, former Diocesan Administrator for the Buffalo Diocese and current Bishop of Syracuse, stated that “During the 53-year period of the John Jay study, 93 complaints of sexual abuse were made against 53 members of the clergy” in the Diocese of Buffalo.

If 53 clergy members were named in 2004, why were only 42 names released today? What about the additional reports made between 2002 and today? Where are those names? Can the Diocese of Buffalo credibly claim that not one single report of sexual abuse has been made in the past 14 years and earlier claims have dissipated?

The diocese compensation plan announced barely weeks ago only applies to survivors who were strong enough to have already disclosed the abuse. This means that those survivors who have yet to disclose this awful trauma are still shunned by the very institution that exposed them to the alleged perpetrators.

The Diocese of Buffalo wants to appear as though it has taken the high road in releasing these 42 names. Bishop Malone claims it’s for the benefit of sexual abuse survivors so they can be “liberated” and “empowered.” This seems disingenuous if all survivors are not acknowledged and offered some measure of justice. Are any of the alleged offenders being paid or supported by the Diocese while the survivors are denied? Which way does the Diocese really want to go? Do Bishop Malone and the Diocese want to disclose the secrets they have held and help survivors or not? Are today’s actions and words a half-truth or a whole lie?

Bishop Malone claimed he “inherited” the policy of keeping the names of priests accused of sexual abuse a secret. It’s time for this policy to change completely. It’s time for transparency, accountability, and justice.