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Buffalo Diocese offers sex abuse victim $400,000 settlement

Church kept Fr. Maryanski in ministry for years
Posted: 6:12 PM, Dec 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-06 00:25:52Z

The Diocese of Buffalo has offered Stephanie McIntyre a $400,000 settlement for alleged sexual abuse by Fr. Fabian Maryanski, whom the diocese kept in ministry for years after she reported the abuse, McIntyre said Wednesday.

McIntyre and her attorney, Barry Covert, confirmed the settlement offer to 7 Eyewitness News. The offer was first reported by The Buffalo News.

The News  broke Stephanie's story in May , when Maryanski was still serving as a priest at Nativity Church in Clarence. 

McIntyre said she will probably accept the offer. But she still feels upset that the diocese, despite knowing about the allegations since 1995, has never included Maryanski on a list of credibly accused priests.

7 Eyewitness News featured McIntyre's story in September in Part 3 of its investigation into Bishop Malone. Maryanski first met McIntyre in 1984 when he was the pastor at St. Patrick’s Church in Barker. 

McIntyre, in a letter she sent to Bishop Malone in April, said the priest abused her for seven years, beginning when she was 15 years old. Maryanski maintains she was 18 years old at the time.

“My abuser not only robbed me of my youthful innocence,” she wrote, “but he destroyed my family.”

McIntyre hired a lawyer and reported the abuse to the diocese in 1995 but said she “was not offered one iota of help to deal with the fallout from Fr. Maryanski’s actions.”

Church documents show the diocese considered placing Maryanski on the list of 42 accused priests in March but officials concluded, “We did not remove him from ministry despite full knowledge of the case, and so including him on list might require explanation.”

The diocese withheld Maryanski’s name from the list. 

Maryanski's settlement offer is the largest known amount offered to a sex abuse victim as part of the diocese's settlement program. Reported settlement offers have ranged from $10,000 to $400,000, attorneys said.

The diocese has a $48 million surplus as it readies to pay sex abuse victims, and it estimates the settlements will cost the church an average of $110,000 per victim.

 

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." 

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.

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