Buffalo bishop preached transparency. Secret recordings made by a whistleblower suggest a different agenda
Bishop Richard Malone, the embattled spiritual leader of the Diocese of Buffalo, is back on the defensive after a second whistleblower came forward on Wednesday, armed with hours of secret recordings that show the bishop navigating what he called “a true crisis situation” for his administration.
Those recordings, made by Malone’s then-secretary and diocesan vice chancellor Fr. Ryszard Biernat and obtained by ABC News, suggest that Malone sought to conceal from public view allegations against a priest he considered “sick,” even as he responded to widespread criticism of his handling of sexual misconduct allegations against clergy in the diocese with promises of greater transparency.
Bishop Malone's handling of allegations of sexual abuse by clergy was detailed in a special edition of Nightline in July.
In an exclusive interview with Charlie Specht, an investigative reporter for ABC’s Buffalo affiliate WKBW, Biernat said his decision to first record and then betray Malone was driven by a sense of loyalty – to the people of Buffalo, if not its bishop.
“I am here to serve the people of Western New York the way I can,” said Biernat, who agreed to take a leave of absence from the diocese in August and has until recently lived in the bishop’s official residence. “I feel I have a responsibility to come forward and ask Bishop Malone to please resign. For the love of God and for the sake of your people here, please resign.”
After the publication of this report, Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat from New York whose district includes Buffalo, reiterated his earlier calls for Bishop Malone’s resignation.
“Western New York Catholics have been hurt by decades of lies and coverups,” Higgins said in a statement provided to ABC News. “Bishop Malone and his public relations team have said again and again that the problems pre-date Bishop Malone’s tenure. These recordings are conclusive evid...