Retired Catholic Bishop accused in a civil lawsuit of sexually assaulting a child in 1990; SNAP responds

If there was ever any doubt that New York's Child Victims Act would effectively expose perpetrators and the institutions that enabled them, those doubts surely continued to fade yesterday as a high-ranking Catholic official in the Diocese of Buffalo was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a young boy. We were not surprised to learn that the abuse occurred during what is supposed to be a memorable time for a young Catholic, their confirmation.

The Diocese stated that Bishop Edward Grosz has agreed to voluntarily step aside from active ministry while the allegations are investigated. Although false allegations of child sexual abuse are extremely rare, the Bishop has denied the claims.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher of Buffalo has notified Cardinal Timothy Dolan and is in the process of alerting appropriate Congregations at the Vatican, as required under Vos Estis Lux Mundi, which governs investigations into abuse complaints against hierarchs. Bishop Fisher has also notified the Papal Nuncio in Washington, D.C. and instructed the Diocesan attorneys to notify the Erie County District Attorney.

We find it very concerning that for many years Bishop Grosz played a key role in handling sexual abuse complaints in the Diocese of Buffalo. We fear that it is possible that many cases may have been mishandled by the prelate.

We roundly applaud the victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, for coming forward and taking steps to lay the responsibility for the harm caused to him back where it belongs, at the feet of the accused and the Diocese responsible for monitoring its clergy.

While it is never a cause for celebration to learn of a survivor's abuse, we are very happy to know that states like New York stand with victims and not with perpetrators.

We encourage anyone who has experienced or witnessed abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo to report directly to law enforcement. We also urge survivors to reach out for help and support to family, friends, therapists, and support groups like ours.

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