Trainee: 'He's the worst possible person that could be on those videos'
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The bishop of Buffalo, who is accused of reassigning homosexual predator priests, is being edited out of videos aimed at preventing sex abuse.
Bishop Richard Malone is being edited out of sex abuse prevention videos following complaints that he has credible allegations against him of not protecting children from homosexual predator priests. One of the trainees that complained, Jamie Wunneberger, said she recognized the embattled bishop in the video.
"I follow the stories and so I recognized the name and I said, 'Surely they wouldn't have that bishop on these videos,'" said Wunneberger. During a break in the training seminar, she confirmed that it was him by looking up the many allegations against him with her phone.
Wunneberger added, "After that, like my blood was just basically boiling because he's the poster child for protecting children in this video and he's the worst possible person that could be on those videos."
The specific videos featuring Malone are entitled "A Time to Protect God's Children" and "A Plan to Protect God's Children," are produced by VIRTUS, a national Catholic insurance company that conducts training sessions for Catholic churches and schools. All employees and volunteers that come in contact with children must attend the training seminars, which feature these videos.
A series of investigative reports by an ABC affiliate in Buffalo, WBKW, as well as by Church Militant, have exposed Malone as a protector of homosexual predator priests. One of those priests is Fr. Art Smith, who was removed from ministry in 2012 by the former bishop of Buffalo, Bp. Edward Kmiec, owing to credible allegations of sex abuse of minors, but was reinstated to active ministry by Malone. Smith was again removed from ministry in April by Malone after allegations of sex abuse were reported. He is now on administrative leave.
Another egregious case was the reinstatement to active ministry of Fr. Dennis Riter, who was credibly accused of forcing a 6-year-old boy to perform oral sex. The aftermath of the abuse was reported in writing by a third-year seminarian of the diocese back in 1992. The young boy, Anthony, has gone public with the allegations, which were also witnessed by his legal guardians as the incident unfolded. There are three legal cases now pending against Riter, who also was removed from active ministry but inexplicably was reinstated in July.
[H]e's the poster child for protecting children in this video and he's the worst possible person that could be on those videos.
Calls for Malone to resign are rising as details emerged that the diocese has underreported the number of credibly accused priests by more than half. The diocese reported that there were 42 priests facing sex abuse allegations. Internal documents, however, show the list to be well over 100 priests credibly accused of sexual predation.
Last week, the rector of Buffalo's Christ the King Seminary, Fr. Joseph Gatto, suddenly stepped aside amid allegations of homosexual assault. Church Militant has also learned that clerical and nonclerical sources within the diocese are affirming Gatto used his position as rector of the seminary to solicit homosexual favors from new applicants to the seminary. Sources say applicants who did not comply with Gatto's requests were not admitted to the seminary program.
Malone is denying that his removal from the video has anything to do with the way he has handled priests facing allegations of sex abuse. Speaking of the decision to edit him from the videos the diocese said in a statement Wednesday, "The decision was not based upon the actions of any particular bishops."
This statement, however, contradicts a statement made Tuesday by the archdiocese of Cincinnati which said they made the decision to cut Malone as well as Abp. Gregory Aymond of New Orleans out of the videos owing to complaints of their handling of sex abuse allegations of their priests. Cincinnati's archdiocesan spokesman, Mike Schafer, said he was concerned about the complaints by trainees — including the bishops — in the videos, owing to their past record.
"Some people were upset we're using the old video," said Schafer. "We were concerned about that. We'll be replacing the DVDs as soon we have it edited."