Despite warnings, past Buffalo bishops returned abusive clergy to parishes

Despite warnings, past Buffalo bishops returned abusive clergy to parishes

By , May 27, 2018, The Buffalo News

When a mother complained that the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits propositioned her teenage son in a bar, the Diocese of Buffalo quietly sent him away for mental health therapy and listed him as "on leave" in its official 1979 directory.

Then, within months, the diocese reassigned him to a new parish, where he later was accused of molesting at least two boys.

Orsolits isn't the only Buffalo priest accused of sexual abusing children who had been marked as "on leave" and then put back into a parish.

The Buffalo News found that from 1973 to 2000 the diocese assigned 11 priests to work in a parish or other ministry after they were marked as "absent on leave" or "awaiting assignment" in official directories. The diocese this year identified . . . 

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  • commented 2018-05-30 19:28:29 -0500
    The article states; Current Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone said that the practice ended many years ago with the 2002 adoption of a new “zero tolerance” policy requiring U.S. dioceses to remove priests for even a single instance of child sex abuse. THE RULES carry no enforcement. It is up to the discretion of the bishop. It is proven the practice has not ended. Is it child sex abuse when a Catholic priest, in November of 2011, convinces the sister and the sister-in-law of a 13 year old girl, to take her out of the house under the pretense of shopping and take her to the rectory where he meets with her in private? None of this with the knowledge of the parents. Is it sex abuse when in July 2014 the same priest admits to communicating with this now 16 year old on average once a day for the past three years? Much of this time while he was in Canada studying to be a Canon Lawyer. Is it sex abuse when the mother tells the priest that he can no longer communicate with her daughter and he states “I don’t know if I can do that”? Is it sex abuse when a letter is written under the guidance of Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer barring him from further communication with this minor and he continues to communicate with her? This letter contained references to specific violations to the Decree on Child Protection. Are we going to play games with the “Zero Tolerance” policy and claim there were no violations because this girl who had been groomed by this priest since she was nine years old will not implicate him? After he denied receiving the letter, we have an e-mail from him stating he received the letter, he then admitted that he violated the letter. This occurred during a meeting with Bishop Binzer. Why was the Bishop removed from the case and ordered to no longer talk to the family? Why would Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and Chancellor Father Steve Angi refuse to meet with the parents of this child and discuss further issues they were having with this priest? Why were letters written by some of their children, solicited by this priest claiming their father had a vendetta against him, used as a reason for Father Angi to inform the parents on April 17, 2015 that the Archdiocese would no longer talk to them? Why was Father Jeff Bacon removed from Holy Cross Immaculata Church in November of 2015 and listed in the bulletin as being on “Medical Leave”. Why did Archbishop Schnurr inform Father Jim Wedig of Queen of Peace Church on October 2, 2016 that Father Bacon was not allowed to dress or perform the duties of a priest and he would never be assigned to a parish again? Was anyone from this priest’s former parish interviewed as to the legitimacy of these complaints? Why would our parish priest state that our family would be in a much better position if the Archdiocese had done what it was supposed to do concerning this priest’s actions, referring to broken relationships between members of the family. Why has the Archdiocese hired a lawyer to try and obtain the records of the criminal investigation of Father Jeff Bacon? Lots of questions and the answers are worse than what is written here. One last question, does any of this sound like violations to the Decree on Child Protection or the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People ??? Tell me again that the Catholic Church has a “Zero Tolerance” policy.