Buffalo my hometown. Thanks to the Catholic Church and its history of sexually abusing children, my city is now the subject of an FBI investigation and the credible accusations of a whistle blower who happened to be the bishop’s former secretary.
Siobhan O’Connor chose to do the right and courageous thing when it became obvious to her the Catholic Church and her own bishop would not. O’Connor served for three years as Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone’s personal secretary. She’s deeply religious and once studied to become a Catholic nun. But while working at Malone’s side, she began to see the ugly underbelly of how the diocese handled sexual abuse.
As the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo announced a new program to help victims of sexual abuse, O’Connor discovered the announcement was nothing more than a public relations ploy.
Publicly, Bishop Malone said he wanted victims to come forward. But O’Connor said a hotline created by the diocese rang to an empty office in Cheektowaga — manned remotely by a part-time employee.
After waiting weeks for a return call, O’Connor said victims began showing up at the chancery to tell their stories. O’Connor said she listened to one man’s story in a supply closet because the diocese had set aside no space to hear the victims.
O’Connor took the side of the angels and wrote an opinion piece in a local paper stating that victims deserve compassion and not criticism.
As the bishop’s secretary, she was privy to personnel documents. When cleaning out a closet, she stumbled on to the most damning evidence, a 300-page dossier on accused priests, most of whom remained in ministry because the allegations against them were not made public when Malone disclosed a list of Buffalo priests accused of abuse.
Last night, 60 Minutes interviewed her and a Buffalo priest who have called out the duplicity of the bishop. Now, the FBI is involved and investigating the Catholic Church in Buffalo. Sadly, this may be one of the biggest church cover-ups of abuse since Boston. The Catholic Church has not learned its lesson. It remains blissful in its arrogance and ignorance. Perhaps, its not ignorance but it very well may be criminal.