A Minnesota law firm known for representing victims of clergy sexual abuse is urging Bishop Richard J. Malone to release details about the extent of abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, including identifying the names of accused priests.
Attorney J. Michael Reck of Jeff Anderson & Associates P.A. sued the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island in 2016, alleging that the diocese was committing a public nuisance by refusing to disclose the identity and history of allegedly sexually abusive priests.
Reck will be in Buffalo Tuesday to release a new report that identifies 13 priests in the Buffalo diocese who have been publicly accused of alleged sexual offenses against minors.
But Reck said in an interview that the number is a "big difference from what reality is. What's the real number?"
Reck credited the Buffalo diocese with establishing an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
But, he also said, the new program falls short in the sharing of information with alleged victims.
"Information flows only one way," said Reck. "That type of perspective endorses secrecy and that secrecy protects abusers and makes it more dangerous for children."
Survivors who previously reported alleged abuse are currently eligible for the fund, a shortcoming that could leave out many people, he said.
Malone said earlier this month that he was reconsidering a diocesan policy that keeps secret the names of priests who have been accused of alleged sexual abuse. Malone's comments came during his announcement of the compensation fund.
Diocesan spokesman George Richert said Monday that releasing the names was "under serious consideration."
"The bishop said what he said on March 1," said Richert. "That all still stands. That is still very much under consideration."
Richert said he did not know when any decision would be made.
The comments also followed an admission from Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits, a retired priest, to The Buffalo News in February that he had molested "probably dozens" of boys in the 1970s and 1980s.
The admissions by Orsolits helped reignite concerns that clergy sexual abuse in Western New York was more devastating and widespread than accounts provided so far by diocesan leaders.
Reck said Malone had the authority to identify accused priests immediately and help many victims of alleged sexual abuse on the path to healing.
"Many, many survivors now believe that they are the only one. The name of their perpetrator is not out there," he said. "We know how powerful it is to say 'Me Too' now and more of them have the ability to say that."
If the Buffalo diocese does not identify accused abusers, Reck said his firm would consider a lawsuit similar to the one it brought against the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Below is a report issued March 13, 2018 by Jeff Anderson & Associates law firm identifying 13 priests in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo linked to sexual abuse allegations.
Story topics: Clergy sex cases