Western New York Catholics gathered Wednesday to protest Bishop Richard Malone, demanding his resignation and calling on the Vatican's top American diplomat to address the growing sexual abuse crisis and for out Bishop Malone himself.
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, visited Buffalo for a conference organized by Catholic Charities U.S.A. at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. A small group of protesters gathered outside to continue their calls for Bishop Malone's resignation.
This comes the same day a 7 Eyewitness News I-Team investigation revealed the original draft list of priests accused of sexual abuse of a minor was much larger than the 42-name list that was initially released by the Diocese of Buffalo.
"Bishop Malone lied to the people of Western New York," James Faluszczak said. He says he was abused by a priest while growing up in Erie, Pennsylvania. "Bishop Malone lied to the Catholic community here."
"We want Archbishop Pierre to send the resignation letter of Bishop Malone to the Vatican," Dr. Robert Hoatson said. He is co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, a support and advocacy group for survivors of sexual abuse.
For Peggy Sperber, who is raising her soon-to-be one-year-old son Catholic, this abuse crisis is top of mind.
"I need to know he is going to be safe," she said. "And that with any type of incident, it is dealt with correctly and the police are called. You can't just transfer someone and put other children at risk. You can't just cover it up."
Sperber continues to go to mass with her son every week. Although, she admits it is difficult.
"It's something that I question. What is the best thing to do? Ultimately, the church is not a group of men," she said. "The church is stronger than that. It is our faith, it is our beliefs, and it is the people. I think it is so important that we take our church back."
Catholic Charities of Buffalo declined to comment on the protest.
7 Eyewitness News is still waiting to hear back from the Diocese of Buffalo regarding the protest. Bishop Malone has said previously he plans to stay on until his retirement in 2021.