More accusations uncovered in the Diocese of Buffalo
Even after a nationally-run expose into secret files, the spread of a federal investigation to their diocese, and a 60 minutes profile of the brave whistleblower who brought those files to light, church officials in Buffalo are still keeping secrets.
WKBW is reporting that two more priests within the Diocese of Buffalo, who have known allegations of sexual misconduct against them, have been permitted to remain in ministry under Bishop Robert Malone. In response to the report, the Diocese has now placed Fr. Ronald Sajdak and Msgr. Fred Liesing on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Recent history has made it clear that church officials in Buffalo have no business conducting an investigation of their own. Instead, all records related to these clergy and others who have been accused of abuse should be turned over immediately to law enforcement. Given these repeated failures to be fully open and honest – despite pledging to be exactly that in March – parishioners and citizens in Buffalo cannot trust Bishop Malone to do the right thing.
We are grateful that the NY state attorney general and U.S. Department of Justice have already opened investigations into clergy sex abuse in New York. If the revelations out of Buffalo are any indication, the investigation is sorely needed. Such an independent investigation is the only way to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults, the healing and support of survivors, and the confidence of citizens that the truth will carry the day.
This story is yet another reminder for all those who may have experienced abuse or suspected that it occurred to be sure and make a report to law enforcement, not diocesan review boards or other church officials. We hope anyone who comes forward with a report of abuse will do so by contacting the attorney general’s office at 1-800-771-7755.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, firstname.lastname@example.org)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.