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Buffalo Bishop Responds to Deluge of Abuse Lawsuits: ‘Tragedy of Epic Proportions’

Bishop Fisher added that the diocese is “fully focused on fulfilling what this process is all about,” meaning a “sense of restitution, closure and healing for all those who were abused by members of the clergy.”
Bishop Michael Fisher of Buffalo, NY at the 2019 USCCB Spring General Assembly

After nearly 1,000 abuse claims were filed against the Diocese of Buffalo in the last two years, the diocese’s Bishop Michael Fisher called it a “tragedy of epic proportions.”

The time window to file civil lawsuits in old cases of child sex abuse in New York expired on Aug. 14. A total of 924 claims were filed against the Diocese of Buffalo, more than any other diocese in the state. Nearly 11,000 total claims were filed in New York under the act.

“It is of paramount importance to deal with the Church’s obligations to survivors forthrightly and to work to repair the enormous damage that has been done not only to the reputation of the Church here in Western New York, but most importantly to the lives of those affected,” Bishop Fisher stated in a letter dated Aug. 21. Fisher was installed as bishop of Buffalo in January 2021.

The state’s Child Victims Act set up the temporary window to file civil lawsuits in old cases of child sex abuse where the statute of limitations had already expired. While the time window was originally set to close last year, former governor Andrew Cuomo, D, extended it another year due to the ongoing pandemic.

Read more from the National Catholic Register.

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