7 Eyewitness News is proud to announce I-Team Chief Investigator Charlie Specht and photojournalist Jeff Wick have been honored with a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for "Fall From Grace: When Priests Prey and Bishops Betray."
Their groundbreaking reporting on the sex abuse scandal and its coverup within the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is now in the running for a national Edward R. Murrow Award. The Murrow is one of the most prestigious awards in all of journalism.
7 Eyewitness News will continue to cover this investigation, as Specht and Wick continue to give a voice to more victims who have been silenced for decades.
You can watch parts one, two and three of Fall From Grace below
Part 1 of the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team investigation revealed that Malone returned Fr. Art Smith to ministry despite allegations of inappropriate contact with a child. Malone returned the accused priests to ministry after a previous bishop suspended him, documents obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team show.
Part 2 revealed that Malone allowed Fr. Robert Yetter to remain pastor of St. Mary's in Swormville despite multiple sexual harassment allegations by young men.
Part 3 cited church records that showed more than 100 priests in the diocese were accused of sexual abuse or misconduct. Malone in March released a list of only 42 priests "who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor."
The investigative series sparked Buffalo civic leaders to call for Malone's resignation and Catholics have mounted weekly protests in front of the Diocese of Buffalo Chancery. Malone in August held a news conference and refused to resign as Buffalo bishop.
In September, the State Attorney General launched a statewide investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and last week, it was revealed the FBI has launched its own criminal investigation into the diocese.
In October, "60 Minutes" aired a national investigative story on Bishop Malone and the Diocese of Buffalo.
In November, I-Team Chief Investigator Charlie Specht traveled to Portland, Maine. Malone served as bishop there before coming to Buffalo. There, Charlie spoke with advocates for victims of sexual abuse about how Malone had been accused of mishandling sex abuse cases. The I-Team also obtained new documents surrounding the cases which paint a much different picture of the bishop’s past.
You can read more of Charlie Specht's investigation into the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in theFall From Grace section of our website.