Bishop Malone ramps up security after 7 Eyewitness News obtains secret documents

'Secret clergy files' cited in newspaper
Posted at 5:34 PM, Sep 04, 2018

It's a scene of fear and paranoia inside the Diocese of Buffalo.

Monday's front page story in The Buffalo News centers on Bishop Richard J. Malone's reaction to a two-part 7 Eyewitness News investigation into Malone's handling of priests who were accused of sexual abuse and harassment.

The stories were based largely on church documents, or what The News called “secret clergy files.” 

The newspaper reported the disclosure of those documents caused the diocese to post security guards at the doors to its headquarters, change locks, set up a video camera and bring in a computer expert to install encryption software on email accounts.

A diocesan lawyer even accused 7 Eyewitness News of hacking church emails -- a claim that is false. 

The newspaper article caused a firestorm of comments online, most from parishioners who faulted the diocese for trying to find the sources, whose identities are confidential.

Bob Bartlett said, "They should be more concerned about why they need to have secret documents in the first place."

Others wrote, "Who cares who did it...Just be thankful they did!” and “perhaps someone at headquarters has developed a conscience."

Since the I-Team investigation, nearly half a dozen lawmakers and community leaders have called for the bishop to resign, the diocese's communication director has announced he's stepping down, and Erie County's district attorney has said a criminal investigation into the diocese is likely.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Buffalo did not respond to a request for comment for this story.