Erie County Legislator Pat Burke, the first Catholic elected official in Western New York to speak out on the sexual abuse crisis in the Buffalo Diocese, is calling on Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone to fully cooperate with any investigations into alleged sexual misconduct by Catholic priests. Earlier today, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced that he is exploring the possibility of a joint investigation into these allegation with the New York State Attorney General's Office.
"I want to thank District Attorney Flynn for taking these allegations seriously," said Legislator Burke. "Based on the recent investigation in Pennsylvania, it is clear there is a widespread problem throughout the church. Although a few brae individuals have come forward, a full investigation into the Buffalo Diocese is crucial."
Burke has been at the forefront of this issue locally. He recently led a discussion on predator priests in legislature chambers and sent a letter to Bishop Malone last week asking that the details of the investigation of Fr. Dennis Riter, who was reinstated at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk earlier this summer, only to be removed again after new allegations surfaced. Burke is also engaging the community with an online petition calling on the Buffalo Diocese to detail any allegation that have been made against priests in Western New York.
"Catholics look to the church for comfort and guidance," noted Burke. "But members of our community have suffered unimaginable trauma, and anything less than complete transparency and a full public accounting of what has gone on in Western New York is unacceptable at this point."