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Local priests meet on sex abuse scandal

WNY Catholic

Buffalo Catholic Diocese priests met Tuesday with Bishop Richard Malone and diocesan lawyers to talk about the continuing sex abuse scandal. WBFO's Mike Desmond spoke with several of them outside Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora.

"All those bishops, archbishops, cardinals who are just so power hungry. They are beyond the law, whatever, and what they say goes," said Fr. Roy Herberger, a retired diocesan priest who was accused of abuse and cleared after an investigation, "and they are having their comeuppance and not just with this, but with anything."

Even as bishops from around the world met in Rome to talk about the global sex abuse scandal, local priests were at the diocesan seminary to talk with church leaders and lawyers about the scandal and their rights in civil and church courts.

Herberger now works at the University at Buffalo's Newman Center and in parishes. He said the process is not a fair.

"My lawyer that I had to hire doesn't even have a chance to cross-examine the accuser," he said, "and when all of the information from the accused and the accuser goes to the diocesan panel, neither of us has a chance to appear before them to answer any questions they have. I think it's just ridiculous."

Credit St. Peter Roman Catholic Church
Msgr. David LiPuma serves as pastor at two Niagara County churches.

Msgr. David LiPuma is pastor of two Niagara County churches and was formerly priest secretary to Bishop Richard Malone and vice chancellor of the diocese.

"Bishop I have worked for, all of them, have been very forthright and really done their best," said LiPuma. "I know there's always ways of improvements. I know there's mistakes and things that have happened, but I think, I know, that every single one of them wouldn't do anything to hurt a child and would make sure that we're accountable for what has happened."

LiPuma said controls installed in 2002 are working, so that there have been no recent accusations. The diocese has ruled dozens of priests, many deceased, violated celibacy rules, with adults and especially children.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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