Diocese responds to '60 Minutes' and I-Team reports after Bishop Malone refused interview request

Posted at 2:03 PM, Dec 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-17 14:03:26-05

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has responded to reports which aired Sunday night on '60 Minutes' and on 7 Eyewitness News regarding sexual abuse accusations against clergy.

The diocese issued a statement, reading in part:

Two stories aired on Sunday, Oct. 28, regarding the Diocese.  Many have sought our comment about both.  Therefore, we issue this statement and will provide information in the days ahead that will add perspective to the stories.  For now, we simply observe that the material reported in the stories was incomplete, out of context and in some cases plainly inaccurate.

We know that some clergy and lay people have chosen to speak their minds and publicize confidential documents about the current crisis in our diocese  These individuals say that they acted according to their consciences.  We take them at their word, as we did before.  If they have any specific matters that they believe need to be addressed, we would appreciate that information.

Both reports focused on whistleblower Siobhan O'Connor, who spoke publicly for the first time on Sunday. Information obtained by O'Connor and shared with 7 Eyewitness News I-Team chief investigator Charlie Specht was instrumental in Specht's three-part investigation into sexual abuse allegations in the diocese.

The statement does not indicate which portions of either the '60 Minutes' or 7 Eyewitness News I-Team report it considers "incomplete, out of context" or "plainly inaccurate." Bishop Richard Malone has declined a request for comment from 7 Eyewitness News, and declined an interview with '60 Minutes,' opting to release a written statement instead.

The diocese says it intends to change how it shares information, adding:

 People will make up their own minds once they have heard our response to these stories.  For our part, at the Diocese of Buffalo, we intend to better utilize our platforms moving forward as a catalyst to share important information, especially about the abuse crisis.  Those platforms include: our website, social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and our monthly WNY Catholicnewspaper.  Several very positive changes are in the works to more effectively, transparently and actively communicate with the public.


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