A former Church employee said she leaked diocesan documents because when the Buffalo diocese addressed sexual abuse allegations it seemed primarily concerned with protecting the reputation and assets of the Church.
A local media investigation published Aug. 22-23 revealed confidential diocesan documents indicating that Bishop Richard Malone allowed priests to stay in ministry despite multiple abuse allegations made against them.
Siobhan O’Connor, a former executive assistant to Bishop Malone, told “60 Minutes” on Sunday that she decided to leak the internal diocesan documents mentioned in the report after an incomplete list of priests accused of abuse was published.
“Bishop Malone had agreed to release a list of 42 priests accused of sexually abusing minors,” according to the program. “But O'Connor knew there should be more names because she had seen the draft list that circulated between the bishop and diocesan lawyers … As they worked on the list, the bishop and his lawyers decided they would not reveal the names of accused priests still in ministry.”
The list, released March 20, “identifies diocesan priests who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor,” according to the diocese. It “also includes deceased priests with more than one allegation made against them.”
O’Connor said: “It was a very carefully curated list. And I– I saw all the– the lawyers coming in and out, and I was aware of the– the various strategies that were in place.”
“To my mind the overarching attitude seemed to be to protect the church's reputation and her assets,” she added.
O’Connor worked as Malone's assistant for three years, quitting in August, shortly after she leaked the personnel files to a local television station. That station’s report subsequent focused on two priests whose names were reportedly considered for inclusion on the publicly-released list of credibly accused clergy, but removed before publication. Both priests were in active ministry at the time of the list’s publication in March.