BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - It was a highly controlled event.
The diocese’s new spokeswoman crowded journalists at the podium and tried to prevent them from asking follow-up questions.
Bishop Richard J. Malone’s staff monopolized the microphone for more than an hour before the embattled bishop finally took questions.
The end result was a new list of 36 accused priests -- but many of the same old answers.
One priest not on that list was Fr. Fabian Maryanski, who was accused of child sexual abuse decades ago but allowed to remain in ministry at Nativity Church in Clarence by Bishop Malone until an article ran in The Buffalo News in May.
CHARLIE: “You have said here that you have never protected any priest accused of abusing a minor. Why did you leave Fr. Fabian Maryanski in ministry for more than 5 years despite an allegation of statutory rape when the victim was 16 years old?”
MALONE: “Fr. Maryanski's case was handled by one of my predecessors...years before I came.”
CHARLIE: “We're talking about you now.”
MALONE: “I know that, let me answer the question please. OK? And so Maryanski was sent off for evaluation and treatment which, at that time, said he could be returned to ministry. We would never do that now. So I just wasn't aware of all this that had happened before I arrived.”
CHARLIE: “But her case was in the black binder that Mr. Connors prepared for you...So did you not read that binder when you became bishop?”
MALONE: “I read through it, a lot of the priests in there were already removed from ministry as you know.”
CHARLIE: “But you let him minister for five years...why?”
MALONE: (Silence...)....(Attorney whispering)...”He was out for five years. “
CHARLIE: “The whole time that you have been here as bishop, he has been in a church until the day the story was in the news. Why?”
MALONE: “Because that's when we discovered, just recently this spring, when I discovered that we had this new letter from the young woman who was making the complaint.”
The bishop also appeared flustered when it came to Father Dennis Riter, who was accused of child sexual abuse by multiple victims.. He denied the claims and was returned to ministry earlier this year by Bishop Malone after the diocese said one of the claims “could not be substantiated.”
CHARLIE: “Father Dennis Riter is alleged to have molested not one, not two, but three minors. You suspended him, put him back into ministry earlier this year before all of the victims were even interviewed. Why?”
MALONE: (Turns to his attorney)
SPECHT: “I don't want to hear from Terry [Connors], I want to hear from you, bishop.”
MALONE: “You're gonna have to hear from my attorneys. I've been dealing with so many of these cases, Charlie, that the details in my weary brain -- seriously -- get mixed up. Can you comment?” (turns to other attorney)
SPECHT: “No, no I don't want to hear from...Who runs this diocese? Is it you or is it Terry [Connors] and Lawlor [Quinlan]?”
MALONE: “It is I...But I rely heavily on those who advise me on the details of these cases…”
KEY LINKS IN THE BUFFALO DIOCESE SEX ABUSE SCANDAL:
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."
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.