Second alleged victim of former Buffalo, Niagara Falls priest Silverio comes forward

Says he was abused at Niagara Falls parish in '70s
I-Team: Second victim of former priest Silverio
Posted at 9:11 AM, Jul 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 17:51:10-04

A second man has stepped forward alleging child sexual abuse at the hands of former Catholic priest and Buffalo non-profit executive Ronald T. Silverio.

Daniel McKean, 51, of Niagara Falls, said in an interview with 7 Eyewitness News that Silverio abused him while he was between seven and nine years old.

McKean said he was an altar boy at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Niagara Falls when Silverio would abuse him, typically three times per week.

“He destroyed my life until I was 42 years old,” McKean said. “I can’t even talk about it, it brings me to tears.”

McKean is now the second man to come forward with allegations of abuse against Silverio, who was a priest in the Diocese of Buffalo from 1970-1981. Buffalo man P.A. Kane wrote a lengthy, detailed essay published this week in The Public newspaper alleging abuse at Holy Family Church in South Buffalo, where Silverio was assigned from 1972-74.

Kane in his essay recalled Silverio being reassigned to the Niagara Falls parish, where he served from 1975-79, and McKean alleges the abuse continued at that parish and included a chilling warning from Silverio.

“If you ever tell someone about this, you will go to Hell,” McKean recalled the priest telling him. “This is what all altar boys have to go through in order to get special gifts in Heaven.”

Silverio did not respond to two phone messages seeking comment. A spokesman for the Diocese of Buffalo declined comment but emphasized that Silverio has not been a diocesan priest for decades.

Silverio went on a leave of absence and raised the ire of church leaders in 1981 when he took a leadership position at Planned Parenthood in Niagara County, according to an Associated Press article from that year.

After leaving the priesthood, he became active with the AIDS Community Clinic in Buffalo and eventually rose to become CEO of Evergreen Health, retiring in 2017.

His alleged victims say they have fought through years of pain, confusion and trauma. McKean has battled drug use and spent time in prison and said many of his struggles trace back to the abuse.

McKean credited the current parish priest at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Fr. Duane Klizek, and a diocesan lawyer for helping him come forward about the abuse. He is seeking compensation from the diocese but said it is more important to him that Silverio be identified as an abuser. 

“I want to be normal again,” McKean said. “I’ve never been normal. I was a happy kid. I loved life. I had to sleep with a light on.”

He added, “I’m so scared right now, but I’m not a quitter. God still wants me here for a reason.”