Following more than 150 new lawsuits for sexual misconduct with children since the implementation of the Child Victim’s Act in New York, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo now finds itself at the center of a direct investigation by the church itself. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn has been directed by the Vatican to investigate the Diocese of Buffalo through an “apostolic visitation” that began earlier this month. Bishop DiMarzio will report to the Congregation for Bishops in Rome once he has completed his investigation. Two of three prior visitations ordered by the Vatican concluded with the Bishop of the diocese being removed.
Criminal Sexual Misconduct Within the Diocese of Buffalo
At the focus of the investigation is Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone and his handling of allegations of child sex abuse within the diocese. In addition to a probe into all New York states dioceses by the Attorney General’s office, the diocese of Buffalo also finds itself under investigation by the F.B.I., though no charges have been filed at this time. A recently leaked audio recording of Bishop Malone alluded to him potentially covering-up alleged sexual harassment of an adult woman by a priest. Lay Catholics have begun to petition for the removal of the Bishop from the church as a result of the ongoing controversies.
Bishop Malone and the diocese of Buffalo began to become the target of greater public scrutiny after defrocked priest, Norbert F. Orsolits casually confessed to a reporter for The Buffalo News that he had abused “probably dozens” of teenage boys during his time at St John Vianney in Orchard Park during the 70’s and 80’s. Orsolits, now age 78 was seemingly unaware that he was on the record at the time of speaking with reporter and could not recall specific individuals that he may have abused, including a 52-year-old Buffalo man who is currently alleging he was abused by the former priest.
Criminal Cover-Up’s of Clergy Abuse
The disgraced priest did recall being sent to a facility in Canada during the mid 80’s and stated to the reporter he has not preyed upon children since, admitting that most of his interactions prior to treatment were fueled by alcohol abuse. Orsolits was removed from the ministry in 2003 as the diocese of Buffalo began implementing zero tolerance policies for clergy alleged to have sexually abused children.
In the fallout of the Orsolits confession, the diocese of Buffalo was found to have committed numerous cover-ups of pedophile priests, so far resulting in more than $17 million dollars in settlements for over 100 victims. The diocese is openly considering chapter 11 bankruptcy and would be the second in the state to do so this year following the filing by the Diocese of Rochester in September.