Fr. Dennis Riter – Diocese of Buffalo

Father Dennis Riter

Diocese of Buffalo

Dennis Riter Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1971 

Suspended: 2018 

Assigned as Follows: 

  • 1971-1977 Church of Assumption (Lackawanna, NY)
  • 1977-1981 St. Aloysius (Springville, NY)
  • 1981-1984 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Dunkirk, NY)
  • 1981-1984 Chaplain at Brooks Memorial Hospital (Dunkirk, NY)
  • 1982-1988 Diocesan Spanish Apostolate (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1984-1986 St. Brigid (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1986-1988 St. Columba (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1988-1994 Queen of All Saints (Lackawanna, NY)
  • 1994-2001 Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1994-2001 St. Valentine (Buffalo, NY)
  • 2001-2002 Not indexed
  • 2002-2008 St. Mary’s (Batavia, NY)
  • 2006-2008 Diocesan Council of Priests (Buffalo, NY)
  • 2008-2016 Diocsean Vicars (Buffalo, NY)
  • 2008-2018 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Dunkirk, NY)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations againt Father Dennis Riter:

In late March of 2018, Father Dennis Riter was placed on administrative leave after allegations surfaced that he had been sexually abusing two altar boys at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Buffalo, New York. One of the victims stated that he was just 10 to 13-years-old when the abuse happened and he had also witnessed the abuse of the other altar boy; who has since died. He claimed that Father Riter would invite them to play games in the rectory after mass and that is where the abuse mainly occurred. He had disclosed the incidents with his aunt in 2007, and the other boy’s mother said that her son told her in 1997 that Riter tried to “play with him” underneath his robe on the altar during mass. She reported the abuse to a cousin who worked for the diocese at the time and was told they would “look into it.” In 2018, the cousin claimed that she did not recall having the conversation and knew nothing about the abuse. Riter’s name was not included on the list released in March of 2018 by the Buffalo Diocese. A third alleged victim was discovered by a news outlet as of May 2018. A former seminarian said that in 1992, he had walked in Riter sexually abusing a 6-year-old boy and told both Bishops Head and Grosz in a letter. He said their responses came months later and the answer was to keep it quiet. In June of 2018, the Diocese said that the claims were unsubstantiated and Riter was reinstated. As of July 2019, a new lawsuit has officially been filed against Father Dennis Riter under the Child Victims Act in New York. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in New York, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims. Contact us at (954) 641-2100 (or toll-free at (888) 283-9922). Email us at