Bishop Malone responds to removal of active priest

Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 27, 2018

After removing an active priest from ministry following allegations of sexual abuse, Bishop Richard Malone says those allegations are not "frivolous".

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo removed Rev. Dennis Riter from ministry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton R.C. Church in Dunkirk Monday. The decision to remove Rev. Riter came just before an investigation by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team was set to air. The I-Team spoke exclusively with a former altar boy who describes allegations of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of Rev. Riter in the 1990s.

You can read the full I-Team investigation here.

"It was very recent that we were alerted to it," Bishop Malone said of allegations made against Rev. Riter. "And immediately, as we always do these days, we engaged our protocol. Which is a protocol shared by all the U.S. bishops across the country."

"I didn't want to talk about it," the former altar boy, Matt, explained. "I didn't think that I had the courage to talk about it. I think that's what I beat myself up more than anything is what else happened in these 11 years that I could have prevented 11 years ago?"

"The initial look at the case convinced us that it was not what we call frivolous," Bishop Malone said. "In other words, it was something we needed to look at."

The Diocese has placed Rev. Riter on administrative leave while it conducts an investigation.

Take WKBW Everywhere, on all your devices.  Download below!

Phone or Tablet: Apple, Android
Set-top Device: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Alexa

Personalize your news, get the latest 7 First Alert Forecast, and watch 7 Eyewitness News video wherever, whenever.

Learn more here about what 7 Eyewitness News provides on all these devices.