Feds subpoena Buffalo Diocese clergy abuse judges

Report: Deals with victim settlement program
Posted at 11:51 AM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 09:31:48-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Federal investigators have issued yet another subpoena to the Diocese of Buffalo seeking information about clergy sex abuse, the Buffalo News reports.

Two retired judges who are overseeing a diocese program to compensate abuse victims were served in March with a federal grand jury subpoena for records they reviewed to determine who should be paid and how much they should get. - The Buffalo News

The diocese's victim settlement program -- announced by Bishop Richard J. Malone in March 2018 with great fanfare -- was criticized from the start as inadequately staffed and slow to respond to victims of clergy sexual abuse who contacted the diocese.

Malone's former secretary, Siobhan O'Connor, cited the slow response as one reason she blew the whistle on the diocese's handling of clergy sexual abuse, providing documents that served as the basis for a three-part 7 Eyewitness News investigation into Malone.

Former state Surrogate’s Court Judge Barbara Howe and former Appellate Division Justice Jerome C. Gorski were appointed by the bishop to serve as judges for the program, and The News reported Howe's law firm of Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP was served in March with a subpoena.

Even victims who have received settlements from the diocese have criticized the process.

The Buffalo Diocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the subpoena. The judges declined to comment to The News.

The News reported the subpoena is the third issued by federal investigators to the Buffalo Diocese.

7 Eyewitness News in August obtained internal emails showing the thought of a criminal investigation was "scary" to Malone, though he publicly pledged full cooperation with law enforcement.

Possible criminal investigation of Diocese of Buffalo is "scary" to Bishop Malone, emails show

The I-Team also obtained emails sent between the bishop and his aides about the first subpoena served on the diocese in 2018.