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Diocesan statement on recent media reports about sexual abuse in the Church

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In March 2018, to honor our charge of transparency, the Diocese of Buffalo released the names of 42 diocesan priests about whom we had received substantiated allegations concerning sexual abuse of children.  As you might imagine, the process leading up to this release was painstaking and deliberate.

Recently, we learned that a member of the media has obtained copies of a number of sensitive and private documents taken from the diocese.  We expect that some members of the media may use the documents to call into question the manner in which our review was conducted, possibly even identifying priests whom we did not.  Some may question why certain priests were not included on our list.  When we published the list, we openly identified the categories of priests that were included.  For example, we included only diocesan priests and not those who were members of religious orders and therefore under the authority of other superiors.  We also did not include the names of deceased priests who were unable to defend themselves against a charge, unless there were at least two complaints.  We stand behind the 42 names we released.  At the time we released the list, we again asked people to come forward if they were aware of any past abuse.  And they did.  We promised that we would add more names to the list.  And we will.

The diocese is committed to bringing healing, support, and some measure of closure to survivors of abuse.  We took the step of releasing names in the interest of transparency, and we will continue to hold ourselves to that standard moving forward.  Because the topic of sexual abuse by clergy is being investigated statewide by the New York State Attorney General, a process we support and with which we will cooperate, we may not be able to share as much as we like.  Even in silence, however, please know that our guiding light on this issue continues to be helping survivors heal and move forward. 

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