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BUFFALO, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A New York diocese is selling a mansion to pay out sex abuse victims.
Buffalo's Bp. Richard Malone announced Tuesday his residence at 77 Oakland Place in Buffalo will be placed on the market this summer and the monies from that sale will help fund the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) to settle claims of priestly sex abuse. The property is assessed at $1.3 million with a market value estimated at $1.91 million.
"This move underscores the importance we place on helping the victims of abuse to begin healing," commented Bp. Malone, after meeting with the diocesan Finance Council, College of Consultors and the Presbyteral Council.
Besides the bishop's property, the diocese is also selling the Sheehan residence for retired priests on Linwood Avenue in Buffalo. The proceeds from that sale will be added to the Retired Diocesan Priests' Medical Benefits Fund.
Malone is also financing the program with self-insurance liability and investment fund reserves. In the past 20 years, the diocese has paid out nearly 1.2 million to victims.
the names of 42 diocesan priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors on March 20. The priests were either dead, retired, removed from active ministry or left the priesthood.
On March 1, The diocese
followed the lead of the archdiocese of New York
and the dioceses of Brooklyn
, Rockville Center and Syracuse
, in setting up the IRCP. Victims have until June 1 to submit a claim.
"We are so very, very sorry for the pain of the abuse that has happened to you. We're sorry. I'm sorry and want to do everything we can going forward, reaching out to you who have to come to us in the past," remarked Malone.
The creation of Buffalo's IRCP came two days after retired priest Norbert Orsolits confessed to sexually abusing "probably dozens" of adolescent boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Orsolits was sent to Canada's Southdown Institute — a common destination for clergy accused of sex abuse — for six months of "psychological
" treatment. He was subsequently moved around the diocese before his removal from active ministry in 2003.
The diocese said Orsolits' removal was owing to the past allegations of sex abuse leveled against him, and they would be in agreement with the "zero tolerance
" church policy regarding sex abuse claims.
Since 2005, as many as 20 sex-abuse claims have been received by the diocese, and at least 22 Buffalo priests
were publicly accused in past decades.
The New York law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates released a report
on March 13 detailing the past, alleged misdeeds of 13 priests publicly accused of sex abuse. Of the 13 priests, six are believed to be have died while the status and locations of the others remain unknown. The report also included their past assignments throughout the diocese.
But attorney Michael Reck is calling for more transparency from the diocese, saying
, "Do the right thing. And by doing the right thing, we mean disclose the identities and whereabouts of all credibly accused clerics, those who are alive, those who are dead, those who are diocesan, those who are members of religious orders."
Malone responded to the report acknowledging that he would only reveal the name of a priest credibly accused after a full investigation by the diocese.
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