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BUFFALO, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A third New York diocese is cobbling together a fund to pay for the alleged sins of its priests.
According to Bp. Richard J. Malone, the program will be financed with self-insurance liability and investment fund reserves. The diocese will also consider selling off properties.
Terrence Connors, attorney for the Buffalo diocese, explained that victims' identities will remain private. Anyone offered a settlement will not be required to sign a confidentiality agreement, allowing victims to speak publicly about their cases. This contrasts with the terms of the archdiocese of New York's $40 million settlement, which required individuals filing claims with the New York IRCP to agree not to release public details about their cases.
Anyone accepting a payout must sign "an Agreement and General Release of all past and future claims against any party relating to such allegations of sexual abuse" — similar to New York's requirement that claimants agree not to sue the archdiocese.
News of Buffalo's compensation fund comes two days after retired priest Norbert F. Orsolits confessed to sexually abusing "probably dozens" of adolescent males in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Speaking to The Buffalo News Tuesday, Orsolits characterized his encounters as consensual, alcohol-fueled romps with teenage boys in his care. He even claimed he was "led on" by some of his victims.
In the early 1980s, the priest was reported to the diocese. Then-Bp. Edward D. Head sent Orsolits to Canada's Southdown Institute — a frequent destination for U.S. priests accused of sexual abuse — for six months of psychological treatment. The diocese reassigned him to work at a rural church and high school afterward. In 2003, as reports of priest sex abuse began to explode, the Buffalo diocese removed Orsolits from ministry.