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Buffalo Diocese offers woman $400,000 to settle sex abuse claim against priest

The Buffalo Diocese has offered $400,000 to a woman who accused the Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager in the 1980s.

It’s the largest known settlement offered under a new diocese program aimed at compensating victims of clergy sex abuse.

Stephanie McIntyre, who lives in South Carolina, said Wednesday that she probably will accept the offer but was still working out all of the emotions she’s experienced since first learning about it from her lawyer, Barry Covert, on Tuesday.

Offers began going out to victims last Friday, and two lawyers who represent many victims said this week that about 20 early award amounts ranged from $10,000 to $360,000.

McIntyre, 50, is the first survivor of abuse in the Buffalo Diocese who has spoken publicly about an award offer. She will have 60 days to accept the offer, in exchange for agreeing not to sue the diocese over the abuse.

She told The Buffalo News the money “will have zero impact in my life.”

“It was never about the money. It was about accountability, and that still has not occurred,” she said.

McIntyre criticized the diocese for not adding Maryanski to its list of priests who were credibly accused of abuse.

“I feel that without placing my abuser on 'the list,' the diocese is saying: ‘Just take the money and shut up. The justices may believe you, but we don't,’ " she said. “It begs the question, what does Maryanski have on them that is keeping him safely off that list?”

The justices McIntyre was referring to are the two former judges hired by the diocese to determine the award amounts.

Diocese officials allowed Maryanski, 77, to work in parishes for more than two decades after he was first accused by McIntyre in 1995 of having sexual contact with her when she was a 15-year-old parishioner at St. Patrick Church in Barker.

McIntyre said the abuse began in the mid-1980s and continued for years.

Maryanski resigned from the parish in 1995 and was listed by the diocese as absent on leave from 1996 to 2000. He later served as a parochial vicar at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Cheektowaga and as pastor of St. Andrew Church in Sloan.

Although retired since 2014, Maryanski was still celebrating Masses earlier this year, primarily at Nativity Church in Clarence, when The News published a story about McIntyre's allegations and the diocese suspended him from public ministry to conduct an investigation.

McIntyre said she was worn out from years of struggling to come to grips with the emotional trauma of the abuse and the diocese’s failure to address it.

“Although I can no longer be a part of this battle at this level, it is my hope and prayer that every other victim will find transformational justice and be treated more fairly than we have been throughout this process and the decades of cover-up that have obviously continued through today,” she said. “I will not be bitter to see others awarded much larger and fairer amounts and will be praying for it to happen.”

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