Whistleblowers key to exposing Buffalo church abuse cover-up

“I should really tackle that vacuum closet,” Siobhan O’Connor told herself when her boss, Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone, was out of town.

HIdden inside, she found a thick binder. It included documents from pending litigation charging priests with sexual assault. Many were still in their jobs. Last summer, she leaked the list to a local television station.

It took not one, but two whistleblowers to oust Malone, who resigned on Wednesday after evidence emerged that he was covering up for abusive priests.

O’Conner shared her story on NPR this morning.

I’ve been a Catholic all my life…I remember thinking that I was certain this was necessary. This truth had to come out for the good of our Catholic community. But I did struggle with the knowledge that I would be betraying my bishop.

She also knew her actions would impact her life.

But I remember thinking that, if I don’t do something, it will it change my life in a far graver way. I could never move past this if I were to be aware of this and walked away without doing something. I’m so grateful I did because I have had this lasting peace ever since then.

She has also shared her story with 60 Minutes.

In September, another whistleblower came forward, this one with tape from meeting with Malone. From ABC News

Those recordings, made by Malone’s then-secretary and diocesan vice chancellor Fr. Ryszard Biernat and obtained by ABC News, suggest that Malone sought to conceal from public view allegations against a priest he considered “sick,” even as he responded to widespread criticism of his handling of sexual misconduct allegations against clergy in the diocese with promises of greater transparency.

The New York Times reported on his resignation this week. 

While he acknowledged making mistakes “in not addressing more swiftly personnel issues” involving behavior between adults, he also said that the turmoil in the diocese reflected the “culmination of systemic failings in the worldwide handling of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy” and was not his fault alone…

Among many Catholics in Buffalo, where Bishop Malone was approaching persona non grata status as the scandals contin

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