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Buffalo Diocese Squirms

Attempts to block sex abuse lawsuits

May 7, 2020  0

A diocese hit hard with predator priest scandals is begging a court to halt ongoing sex abuse cases until its bankruptcy case can be sorted out in court.

The diocese of Buffalo, inundated with cover-up scandals in the last two years, is petitioning a judge to stop nearly 250 ongoing sex abuse lawsuits, claiming they would deplete its insurance reserves and reduce future payouts to victims.  

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer highlighted by the Boston Globe in 2002 who is representing 39 Buffalo victims, commented: "This legal maneuver by the diocese of Buffalo is just another example of the Catholic Church coldly putting its needs before the needs of victims." 

In February, the diocese declared bankruptcy, listing about $13 million in revenue and $100 million in liabilities.

But in January, it was revealed the diocese was working for years to shelter assets. 

Monsignor William Gallagher, a retired Buffalo priest who served on the diocese's finance council said, "Instead of having the diocese holding money for everybody because then it's reachable by lawsuit, this way they created independent outfits to take care of it. When the lawsuits started, they had to make sure that everything was separated." 

Lawsuits have flooded in since August, when the state of New York's Child Victims Act pulled back the statute of limitations on sex abuse crimes.

But victims are seeing Buffalo's latest move as another ploy for the diocese to deny justice for its victims.

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