We, along with other news agencies in Maine, received word this past week of the investigation into the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Buffalo, New York. The State Attorney General ordered the investigation statewide in September and it is learned that the FBI has started its own investigation of the diocese.
Why should that concern us? Well, the Buffalo diocese is under the direction of one Bishop Richard J. Malone, the former Bishop of the Portland Diocese, who came under fire for "not telling the truth" about a case involving the Rev. Thomas M. Lee of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Boothbay Harbor. Lee was accused of sexual abuse dating back decades that spilled out in the early 2000s.
The Buffalo television station, WKBW, contacted this newspaper to see if we had a photograph of Lee to add to its investigative series about the abuse in the Buffalo diocese under Malone. You can find the station's report online at https://bit.ly/2At7ELw
WKBW's thorough investigative report includes an interview with Paul T. Kendrick, an advocate for victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Portland. Kendrick was accused of "harassment" by Malone after Kendrick continually asked the bishop to be more transparent about the sexual abuse cases in the Portland diocese.
“The Bishop Malone that I came to know here in Maine...is an actor on a stage,” said Kendrick, during the interview with WKBW. “Malone is a fake, a phony. He’s not telling the truth when he likes to say, ‘I never knew.’”
The report also includes information about the Lee case that the TV station obtained from John S. Brennan, former director of the Office of Professional Responsibility for the Diocese of Portland under Malone. In Brennan's 60-page report on the Lee case, according to the TV station's investigation, "the allegations went nowhere, even after the diocesan review board unanimously affirmed the complaint against Father Lee had been substantiated."
In a statement by Brennan on one of the reports obtained by WKBW, Brennan wrote, “With respect to the Vatican and Bishop Malone, this was a complete cover-up of the highest order that cannot possibly be explained or defended and still screams out for justice.”
WKBW's report also includes a link to the “60 Minutes” investigative story on Malone and the Diocese of Buffalo.
It would be too easy for Bishop Malone to just resign. We hope he has to endure more pressure from authorities and is eventually stripped of his title. But it remains to be seen as the Catholic Church’s secrets about sexual abuse have been coming out for decades and there seems to be no end in sight.