I-Team: DA says sex crimes law should change in wake of Buffalo priest abuse scandal

Child Victims Act pending in Albany
Posted at 6:29 PM, Mar 05, 2018

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn had a lot to say when sexual abuse allegations at Nichols School emerged in January.

“When I read through it, I was obviously disgusted,” Flynn said back then of the private school’s investigative report.

The DA is just as sick reading about recent abuse allegations surrounding local priests in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo -- and Flynn is a practicing Catholic.

Charlie Specht, Reporter: “Do you feel as strongly about what happened there?”

Flynn: “Absolutely. My resolve in getting this passed has never wavered.”

If anything, he said the allegations against former priest Norbert Orsolits -- and a rare admission of guilt by the priest published last week in The Buffalo News -- make the matter even more pressing.

“What we've seen now the past couple days in the paper and the problems that we've seen with the Catholic Church here goes to the point even more, in the sense that we need to have this bill passed,” Flynn said of the proposed Child Victims Act.

The law would allow authorities to bring priests like Orsolits -- who now lives in Springville -- to justice, even if their accusers are too traumatized to come forward right away.

“If we had no statute of limitations on any of the sex crimes, then I could go back and I could prosecute that priest,” Flynn said. 

Orsolits would be grandfathered in and could not be prosecuted under the new law -- but future abusers would no longer have time on their side.

Flynn said, “If any individual who was, say, molested today, comes forward 30 years from now, 20 years from now, I could then prosecute the perpetrator who did it then.”