Buffalo womans alleged abusers name added to Diocese list of clergy sex abuse

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone told reporters at a news conference he held Nov. 5 outside Infant of Prague Church in Cheektowaga that at a meeting earlier in the day with the dioceses priests, two of them had asked him to resign.

The bishop acknowledged ongoing criticism over his handling of some clergy abuse complaints but said he has no plans to resign.

“I know that there may not be a high level of trust right now, but I do believe that working with others who continue to believe in me, we can steer through this storm into a calm sea,” said Malone, who has headed the Buffalo Diocese since August 2012.

The day of the news conference the diocese added 36 names to a public list of priests with substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a child, bringing the number to 78.

Other actions by the diocese have included instituting an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.

“We asked the victims to come forward. They have, and the numbers were overwhelming,” Malone told reporters, adding that “the word tsunami is not inappropriate” to describe the response.

Malones news conference followed by a few days his on-air remarks to local radio hosts Tom Bauerle and David Bellavia of WBEN. During the show, he acknowledged he had made mistakes particularly in the cases of two priests, Fr. Robert Yetter and Fr. Art Smith, but overall, he said, he had a good record on responding to child abuse claims.

Yetter and Smith were featured in two segments aired in late August by WKBW-TV. The reports suggested that the bishop did not remove them from ministry after sex abuse allegations were made against them, and one of them may have received multiple chances to remain in active ministry, even after officials at a school documented worries that he showed sexual grooming behaviors toward children.

Yetter resigned Aug. 27 after a statement issued by the diocese said the bishop “asked for and received” the priests resignation. The pastor of St. Mary Parish in Swormville was placed on administrative leave as an investigation continues, the diocese said.

“Please note that this administrative leave is for the purpose of investigation and does not imply any determination as to the truth or falsity of the complaint,” the diocese said.

She was an adult at the time, and never expected to see his name on that clergy sex abuse list, because the Buffalo Diocese was only revealing cases involving minors. 

But all that changed on Monday. "Seeing him smoking outside the Church, he would kiss everybody on the lips."

She first met him at age 12 at Queen of Heaven Church in West Seneca. He became friends with her family. 

She said, "He would come over to my house and I always felt uncomfortable because he would kiss me on the lips, and then he started rubbing himself against me. After that it escalated to him exposing himself in my house."

She says this happened on multiple occasions at her home in 1993 when safe was in her early 20's. 

She said, "As far as i'm concerned that's stabbing me in the back, and twisting the knife and turning their back on God."

According to the Diocese, Father Moss's name would only appear on their list of accused priests if he was accused of sexual abuse of a minor, before he died in March of this year. 

Safe knew her story wouldn't land him on the list, but also knew, "I wasn't the only one he was doing this crap to," she said. 

Safe was still surprised to see Father Moss on the updated list on Monday.She feels validated, but, "I think it's too little too late."

She says she's seen how Bishop Richard Malone's has handled the crisis, she's now calling for him to resign: 

"Everyone of those priests that are on that list should have right from the get-go been reported to the authorities."

The Diocese says there are a total of 176 Priests against whom child sex abuse allegations were made. They are not identifying deceased priests who have a single allegation against them.

Because Father Moss is being named, it is likely he had at least another accusation against him, that involved a child.

Posted in Buffalo