BUFFALO, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The diocese of Buffalo has been caught in an apparent lie about the number of clergy accused of sex abuse.
According to local news outfit WKBW Buffalo, the diocese's own internal documents contradict the claim made publicly by the diocese in March that only 42 priests in the diocese "were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor."
In addition to the 42 priests named publicly by the diocese under Bp. Richard Malone, the diocese's own internal files list credible sex abuse allegations against another 64 priests — for a grand total of 106. There were also 11 accused priests whose names the diocese removed because the allegations were deemed not credible.
The names of those 64 priests were left out of Bp. Malone's statement for seemingly arbitrary reasons. Twenty-five of them were members of religious orders, 19 were deceased with only one alleged victim and another 20 accused priests were left off because they did not meet the diocese's narrowly defined conditions for disclosure — according to WKBW's investigative report published Wednesday.
WKBW even reports, "In some cases, priests were kept off the list because they were still in ministry or because the diocese had previously hidden the abuse from parishioners, documents show."
WKBW noted that another diocesan document listed a total of 324 names of diocesan personnel accused of abuse, but this list also included deacons, nuns and even lay employees.
The report states that the official list of 42 was reduced to that size by a series of arbitrary rules established by diocesan personnel when deciding which allegations to publicize and which to keep under wraps.
WKBW's report is the latest development in an ongoing investigation into the Buffalo diocese. Fearing a leaker, the diocese has clamped down tightly on security restrictions.
The diocese of Buffalo is one of eight Catholic dioceses in the state of New York. The New York attorney general recently subpoenaed all eight dioceses, ordering them to hand over their documents on clerical sex abuse allegations.
Faithful Catholics have been protesting outside St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo, demanding transparency, holding signs, praying the Rosary and demanding Bp. Malone's resignation.
Similar protests have taken place outside the offices of the archdiocese of Newark in New Jersey.