Jesuit Priest in Buffalo is the Latest to be Named in a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit, SNAP Calls for Transparency from Jesuit and Diocesan Officials
Fr. Charles Lehmkuhl, a Jesuit from the Northeast Province who worked in Buffalo, NY, is the latest clergy to be accused in a lawsuit for sexual abuse in New York. We applaud Matthew Ebert for his courage in going public and hope his example inspires others to come forward.
Many bishops split hairs and refuse to list abusers from religious orders on their diocesan lists. According to BishopAccountability.org, the Diocese of Buffalo has been inconsistent in including these men. We hope Apostolic Administrator Edward Scharfenberger will choose to be completely transparent going forward. The victim in this case was a child in the Buffalo diocese and is due validation for the harm that was done to him.
The Child Victim Act continues to add to expose additional names of accused Catholic priests. Although Fr. Lehmkuhl is deceased, some of these alleged perpetrators may still be alive and in ministry. Each name that gets exposed helps to validate victims, protect children and inform the public, creating safer environments in churches and communities.
The CVA is obviously having a positive impact and the fact that Fr. Lehmkuhl was not listed on the Jesuits' Northeast list demonstrates the need for the provincial of that province to examine his files even further. The sad fact is that when one victim comes forward, there are usually more who are dealing with their abuse silently. The USCCB itself estimates that, on average, each abusive priest has more than two victims.
This is why it is critical that Bishop Scharfenberger in Buffalo, President John Hurley at Canisius College, and Jesuits Northeast Provincial Fr. John Cecero must use all of their resources to share this new information about Fr. Lehmkuhl and encourage others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered abuse to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.
We also call on Jesuits Northeast to divulge Fr. Lehmkuhl’s complete work history and to reveal the details of his personnel file related to possible sexual abuse.
(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)