Buffalo’s History of Corruption, Collusion and Conspiracy

News: Commentary
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 2, 2019   

Corrupt Church leaders and complicit law enforcement versus whistleblowers

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Buffalo's current pattern of reinstating abusive priests to active ministry is but a recent example of the diocese's long and sordid history of covering for predator priests.

Not only is Buffalo's Bp. Richard Malone continuing to reassign corrupt clergy, but he is also suppressing the voices of abuse survivors at his so-called listening sessions.

But the Buffalo diocese acts, however, as a true microcosm of clerical sex abuse that exhibits how Church leaders and law enforcement have collectively suppressed whistleblowers and covered-up priestly sex abuse for decades.

This historical collusion between Buffalo's Church and civil authorities was called out in May by Buffalo's former vice squad detective Martin Harrington.

Speaking of his time on the force in the 1980s and 1990s, Harrington said:

The department's unwritten policy was that Catholic priests did not get arrested … we had priests we caught with pornography, or masturbating in the city parks, and our orders were to turn them over to the Buffalo diocese. The diocese would deal with them, but they would not be arrested.


This provides a partial explanation of how a pipeline could be set up in the 1990s by corrupt Church leaders like Theodore McCarrick, which funneled gay seminarians from South America up to U.S. dioceses such as Buffalo.

Church Militant obtained a copy of a 1998 confidential internal memo between Fr. Joseph Gatto, then vice rector of Buffalo's seminary, and Bp. Henry Mansell, then-ordinary of Buffalo. In the memo, Gatto updates Mansell on the newest crop of 10 seminarians from Colombia.

Church Militant contacted multiple seminarians who were at Buffalo's Christ the King Seminary at the time. Two of them told Church Militant that homosexuality at the seminary under Mansell and Gatto was rampant.

They further related that some of the Colombians were actually parcelled out to parish assignments with active homosexual pastors who lavished expensive gifts, including cars, on the young gay Colombians in exchange for sex.

Two of these former seminarians confirmed to Church Militant that they left the seminary under Gatto because they were disgusted with the openly homosexual current that dominated the Buffalo seminary.

One of these Colombian seminarians, Ricardo J. Perillo, told Church Militant that, in 1999, Gatto was aware of certain homosexual relationships between priests and seminarians and that nearly half of the Colombian seminarians in his class — personally recruited by Gatto for Bp. Mansell — were actively gay.

Blowing the whistle to Gatto on the situation, Perillo said, only got himself expelled from the seminary.

This is the same Fr. Gatto who stepped down last year as president-rector of Buffalo's seminary following allegations of homosexual misconduct and who Malone attempted to reinstate to active ministry in May.

Other whistleblowers like Buffalo's priest Fr. Joseph Moreno didn't make any headway in cleaning up corruption related to sex abuse in the diocese.

In 2012, Moreno tried to expose the network of corruption involving Buffalo's Church leaders, complicit law enforcement, corrupt judges and even compromised politicians. The week he died, Moreno did the following:

  • Set an appointment with the U.S. papal nuncio, Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò
  • Told his sister he was going to expose the corruption in Buffalo
  • Sent a fax containing pertinent information to a local news outlet

The day after sending the fax, Moreno was found dead in his rectory with two holes in the back of his head. Local law enforcement quickly ruled Moreno's death a suicide.

Watch the panel discuss the Buffalo's ongoing corruption in The Download—Shameless Shepherd.


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