Independent Auditor Concludes That Diocese of Buffalo Is in Full Compliance With Its Written Commitments to Child Protection | Diocese of Buffalo

Independent Auditor Concludes That Diocese of Buffalo Is in Full Compliance With Its Written Commitments to Child Protection

Buffalo, NY, June 18, 2024 – An independent auditor has concluded after a comprehensive and transparent audit of the Diocese of Buffalo “that the Diocese is compliant with all of the Commitments” which memorialize child-protection policies in the Diocese. The Diocese agreed to these Commitments with the New York Office of the Attorney General, as part of the settlement of a lawsuit in October 2022.

These Commitments confirm that the Diocese’s rigorous policies and protocols that it has put in place over the past several years are working to keep all children and vulnerable adults safe. These policies are published on the Diocese’s website, Diocese’s Policy and Procedures for the Protection of Young People and Vulnerable Adults, and have been developed by the Diocese since the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops mandated the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, in 2002.

The Compliance Audit Report, posted on the diocesan website, was drafted by the Independent Auditor Kinsale Management Consulting. Kathleen McChesney, Ph.D., who led the independent audit team, is a former Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national Office of Child and Youth Protection, as well as a former high-ranking FBI official and head of FBI offices in Chicago and Portland, Oregon.

In a statement in the report, Bishop Michael W. Fisher noted, “Their efforts have been thorough, and they have brought considerable professional skill and experience to this audit process.

“The auditor and her independent audit team interviewed the full range of Diocesan personnel who are responsible for executing the Diocese’s child-protection policies, every member of the Independent Review Board, and made several on-site visits to the Diocese’s administrative offices and to other locations throughout the Diocese.”

Dr. McChesney confirmed that the Diocese fully cooperated with the audit and there were “no limitations imposed on the auditor by the Diocese in any manner throughout the audit.”

The independent auditor included in the report a series of tables to detail the Diocese’s compliance with the Commitments. Appendix E to the report, titled “Dates of Alleged Abuse by Accused Clerics and Former Clerics,” shows that there were no complaints of abuse that occurred during the audit period— December 2022 through December 2023. Rather, all of the complaints that were addressed during the audit period concerned alleged abuse which occurred more than 20 years ago. This further confirms that the Diocese’s child-protection policies have been successful. These claims of past misconduct have all been treated seriously by the Diocese and in complete compliance with the Diocese’s child-protection policies, as the independent auditor found.

While the Independent Auditor’s Compliance Audit Report confirms the Diocese’s ongoing commitment to accountability and transparency in addressing allegations of past misconduct, the Diocese also continues to look forward to ensure that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated.

“The auditor’s conclusion that the Diocese is in compliance with each of the child-protection policies and procedures embodied in the [settlement agreement’s] 29 Commitments is an important step in the Diocese’s ongoing efforts to ensure that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. We will continue to support and provide assistance to those who have been harmed. We pray for their healing and forgiveness for what they have endured,” Bishop Fisher concluded.

The full Compliance Audit Report by the independent auditor, dated June 7, 2024, is available here, and Bishop Fisher’s letter is reprinted following page 66 of the report.