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Diocese of Buffalo ‘stunned and dismayed’ by whistleblower call for Malone’s resignation

.- The Diocese of Buffalo has issued a response to a whistleblower who called for Bishop Richard Malone to resign, after he was publicly accused of allowing priests credibly accused of sexual abuse to remain in ministry.

The diocese released a statement late Tuesday night, after Siobhan O’Connor, a former diocesan employee, said on “60 Minutes” Sunday that the diocese had knowingly omitted some priests from a list it published in March of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The list included 42 names; documents leaked by O’Connor included 118 priests credibly accused of misconduct.

The Oct. 30 diocesan statement said that Malone was “stunned and dismayed” by comments O’Connor delivered at a local press conference held that day. The diocese called her remarks “plainly and embarrassingly contradictory.”

At the press conference O’Connor reiterated her earlier claims, and called for “a complete change in leadership here,” calling for the resignation of Malone, and urging the intervention of Pope Francis, “because it’s just not going to get better.”

The diocese said that “her comments directly contradict her comments to him while she worked at the Chancery and even after she left. In fact, her prior, written communications to the Bishop demonstrate her complete admiration for the Bishop and his efforts to lead the Diocese.”

The statement did not directly address the veracity of O’Connor’s claim that Malone worked with diocesan lawyers to parse down the list of accused priests published by the diocese.

The list, released March 20, “identifies diocesan priests who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor,” according to the diocese. It “also includes deceased priests with more than one allegation made against them.”

“It was a very carefully curated list,” O’Connor said.

“To my mind the overarching attitude seemed to be to protect the Church’s reputation and her assets,” she added.

The Oct. 30 diocesan statement included a release of emails sent from O’Connor to Bishop Malone and her former diocesan co-workers, including one sent Aug. 9, 2018.

“Thank you, Bishop, for all of the opportunities I’ve had and lessons I’ve learned while working for and with you,” the email read in part.

“You have my heartfelt gratitude. I will always pray for you and your Chancery staff as I know so well the burdens you carry!”

Read more at Catholic News Agency. 

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