More than 900 child sex abuse claims were filed against the Diocese of Buffalo; SNAP does the math.
Over 900 claims of child sexual abuse have been filed against the Diocese of Buffalo, a number that is reported to be the largest number of claims ever filed against a single Catholic diocese in bankruptcy. These staggering numbers will surely rock the public.
The sheer number of claims reported is mind-boggling. However, we believe this will become a common theme across the country as ‘windows to justice’ continue to be passed by state legislatures. Sadly, given what we have seen over the course of our history, we are not surprised at the numbers, nor are we surprised at the content and description of these claims.
Based on the number of claims, and including the cases previously settled by the Diocese through a voluntary compensation program, there are at least 1030 victims in this one single diocese alone. Given that these cases span the past 75 years, that means that roughly 14 children were abused every single year in Buffalo. In other words, for nearly a century. more than one child per month was victimized by someone who was supposed to care for them. In the Buffalo Diocese, it is clear that no boy or girl was safe.
History has also shown us that it is more likely than not for a perpetrator priest to have multiple victims. The Diocese of Buffalo quickly filed bankruptcy in February 2020, when it was faced with 260 lawsuits. At the time, Diocesan leaders said that they anticipated about 400 additional claims. We wonder if they chose bankruptcy because they knew the true extent of the crimes, and wanted to keep as much information hidden from the public as possible?
It is past time that Catholic officials stop enjoying a free pass. They need to put victims first and face the task of cleaning up the wreckage of the past.
(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)