In a stunning lawsuit filed yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (below) sued the Diocese of Buffalo along with former bishops Richard J. Malone and Edward M. Grosz for putting children at risk over the course of decades while they took part in a cover-up of sexual abuse by dozens of priests.
The lawsuit claims that allegations of abuse by priests were “inadequately investigated, if at all.” Even when there were credible accusations, the Catholic Church leaders allowed the priests to retire or take a medical leave so that they could not be internally punished. In one case, a priest who had been the subject of eight separate allegations of sexual assault was still allowed to minister to children.
The lawsuit is the result of a two-year investigation into the diocese. The investigation began shortly after the same diocese released the names of 42 priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse — which sounds like a step forward, until you realize the original list had 106 priests on it, and the complete list was 324 names long, including deacons, nuns, and lay employees. It was Malone who decided to leave certain names off the list because they were still active priests or because the diocese had never disclosed their names publicly before (and doing so now would be even more scandalous).
The same 7 Eyewitness News I-Team in Buffalo that broke that story also published audio recordings of Malone refusing to act when informed of an abusive priest.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation welcomed the lawsuit:
“It’s past time for our secular government to go after these religious criminals by holding their enablers accountable,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Our government has let the Catholic Church ‘police’ itself, held the church above the law, and the results have been horrific.”
FFRF applauds the prospect of justice for the countless survivors of institutional sexual abuse by the Catholic Church, and deplores its despicable record of protecting abusers and the church’s reputation at the expense of the vulnerable minors preyed upon by church officials. FFRF commends the attorney general’s willingness to stand up to this formidable, litigious defendant and encourages similar suits be brought against the other seven dioceses under investigation, and then in other states.
In addition to the lawsuit, James also filed a motion that would allow the names of the accused priests, and the allegations against them, to be made public.
Obviously, these are allegations, and allegations shouldn’t be confused with guilt. But how many successful lawsuits will it take before practicing Catholics realize they belong to a criminal enterprise? The Church is broken. It has ruined lives for generations. Yet some people continue going to and giving money to their local churches, propping them up despite the lifelong trauma inflicted upon children by Church leaders over the past several decades.
The Catholic Church doesn’t deserve your respect, your time, or your money. It’s about damn time more of these dioceses get shut down before they create even more victims.
(Screenshot via Vimeo)