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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A new report by the Associated Press (AP) is exposing how U.S. bishops have failed to police themselves regarding clerical sex abuse.
Published on Thursday, the AP is discussing how, in the nearly 20 years since the Boston Globe blew the lid off the clerical sex abuse scandal, the bishops have consistently failed to hold themselves to account and have continued to punish and ostracize victims for coming forward.
One of the reforms U.S. bishops promised to make is the establishment of boards to investigate sex abuse.
The AP reports:
But almost two decades later, an Associated Press investigation of review boards across the country shows they have broadly failed to uphold these commitments. Instead, review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts.
It goes on to add, "The AP also found dozens of cases in which review boards rejected complaints from survivors, only to have them later validated by secular authorities," noting, "In a few instances, board members were themselves clergy accused of sexual misconduct."
On Nov. 14 it was revealed that a New York bishop assigned by Pope Francis to investigate sex abuse cover-up in Buffalo is himself being accused of sex abuse. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is being accused of sexually abusing an altar boy in Jersey City, New Jersey, in the 1970s.
Church Militant contacted DiMarzio to ask if he is now disqualified from the Buffalo investigation and whether another bishop will be tasked with investigating him, but received no answer.
Boston-based sex abuse lawyer Mitchell Garabedian commented, "The investigation of the diocese of Buffalo by Bishop DiMarzio is tainted because of these allegations," adding, "There needs to be a truly neutral investigator to determine whether Bishop Malone should resign."
The AP report notes that many abuse survivors "faced hostility and humiliation" from investigative boards and bishops.
In February, clerical homosexual abuse victims called out Buffalo's Bp. Richard Malone for ignoring him and allegedly lying about his abuser.
Kyle Gorlick, a resident of the diocese of Buffalo and sex abuse survivor, told Church Militant that Malone lied to him in a private meeting and that the bishop "continues to re-victimize me and my loved ones daily."
"I'm growing weary from the weight of carrying his cross," Gorlick said. "Bishop Malone knows from the depths of his heart that he owes me a deep and personal apology for all of this. Is this how lifelong abuse survivors are to be treated?"
Gorlick initially reached out to the diocese in March 2017 to inform them of years of sexual abuse by his pastor, Fr. Robert Yetter. The diocese tried to intimidate him.
"I was told in an ominous voice that 'you can do whatever you want, but lawyers are going to do what lawyers are going to do,'" said Gorlick. "This prevented me from providing more than just surface-level details of my abuse."
Since the public outing of ex-Cdl. Theodore McCarrick and the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report in 2018, bishops have been scrambling to control the public narrative. Despite their efforts, a poll shows that 95% of laity distrust them.