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BUFFALO, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Against the backdrop of a Vatican inquiry, evidence of corruption continues to emerge in the diocese of Buffalo.
In a Thursday press release, spokespersons for investigator Bp. Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn announced that the prelate has concluded his investigation into alleged wrongdoing in Buffalo, and will soon submit his findings to the Holy See.
According to the statement, over the course of his "Apostolic Visitation," DiMarzio spent a total of seven days in Buffalo and interviewed dozens of people, including "members of the Presbyteral Council, Diocesan Consultors, Diocesan Finance Council, Diocesan Pastoral Council, Territorial Vicars, and Senior Priests. He also spoke with representatives of outside groups such as the Movement to Restore Trust, college presidents, and other interested parties."
But many faithful Buffalo Catholics — among them, local investigative reporter Charlies Specht — are troubled by red flags surrounding the investigation.
On Thursday, Specht took to Twitter, noting that according to the Brooklyn press release, Bp. DiMarzio appears to have interviewed mostly Buffalo diocesan priests.
"Will be interesting to see if Catholics trust a bishop investigating another bishop, with priests as primary witnesses," he tweeted.
Specht also warned that according to his sources, "there are serious reasons to be concerned" about DiMarzio's investigation, including the fact that Buffalo "priests and deacons" allied to Bp. Richard Malone "helped organize many of the interviews."
Additionally, he revealed that in June 2016, DiMarzio was accused of trying to bribe a state lawmaker to abandon attempts to overhaul New York's statute of limitations on child sex abuse claims.
My sources are saying there are serious reasons to be concerned about @BpDiMarzio’s investigation, including the fact that @BuffaloDiocese priests and deacons who are friendly to @BishopRJMalone helped organize many of the interviews. @WKBW— Charlie Specht (@Charlie_Reports) October 31, 2019
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey alleged that in 2007, DiMarzio offered her $5,000 for therapy for a family member who had been sexually abused as a child — if she walked away from her reform efforts.
"I'm not a billionaire, but I don't need $5,000 to buy me off," she told the Daily News. The diocese of Brooklyn slammed Markey's allegation as "patently false."
Observers also note that DiMarzio is a protégé of serial homosexual predator Theodore McCarrick and was handpicked to serve as auxiliary bishop of Newark under the disgraced former bishop.
The Vatican picked Bp. DiMarzio to investigate accusations that Buffalo is a hotbed of malfeasance, and that Malone is guilty of covering for predator priests.
The day before DiMarzio's staff announced the conclusion of his investigation, Buffalo whistleblower Siobhan O'Connor — Malone's former secretary — published a scathing exposé illustrating the extent of the corruption inside the diocese.
In the course of her research, O'Connor discovered that almost two dozen credibly accused predator priests remain on the diocesan payroll:
There are 23 (alleged) pedophile priests on the Diocese of Buffalo's [DOB] current payroll. 22 deceased priests stayed on the DOB payroll after abuse allegations against them were known to the diocese. The Diocese of Buffalo has been paying pedophiles for decades. These abusers were never held accountable for their crimes and they continue to receive regular financial support from the Diocese. Members of the Diocese of Buffalo have been unknowingly funding this pedophile payroll the whole time.
She added, "the fact remains that Bishop Malone allowed those same cases to languish in the Secret Archives! The infamous black binder — which he received a month after he was installed as our bishop — clearly alerted him to the existence of all of these cases."
"He knew about the 'bad guys' and the 'broken toys,' as he and [Auxiliary Bp. Edward] Grosz referred to the abusive priests," she added. "Bishop Malone knew they were in there and he did nothing about it. He put the black binder in the vacuum closet and was done with it."
In light of these and other findings, an overwhelming majority of Buffalo Catholics have already judged Malone and his chancery allies guilty of corruption, with 86% saying the bishop should resign. For them, the remaining question is whether DiMarzio's probe will result in justice or a whitewash.