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Diocese of Buffalo establishes adult sexual abuse and misconduct task force

Bishop announced plan after I-Team reports
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Posted at 12:08 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 15:25:59-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Five months after pledging to create a sexual abuse task force in the wake of a 7 Eyewitness News investigation, the Buffalo Catholic Diocese has appointed members to that panel.

The Adult Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Task Force will "review and recommend policies and procedures for assessing and responding to allegations of sexual misconduct with adults by priests, deacons, religious and lay employees," the diocese said in a statement posted to its website.

The Task Force members include Patricia Brunsing (nursing home administrator), Ellen Christensen (sexologist and leading expert in the area of sexual abuse), Maureen Pratt (Respect Life Committee member), James Schmit (specializes in labor and employment law), and Dennis Wittman (retired veteran holding a master's in social work). Click here for more information about their backgrounds.

Bishop Richard J. Malone acknowledged he had "fallen short" in addressing sexual abuse and misconduct by adults after 7 Eyewitness News reported in August that he returned Fr. Art Smith to ministry despite multiple abuse allegations and allowed Fr. Robert Yetter to remain in ministry despite multiple allegations of adult sexual misconduct.