Tag: Diocese of Buffalo

Diocese of Buffalo – Bankruptcy Records

Release of Records in Diocese of Buffalo Bankruptcy  

 

The Diocese of Buffalo filed for Bankruptcy in February of 2020. There’s a question as to whether or not records in the Diocese of Buffalo Bankruptcy case will be released. There are more than 25,000 pages of internal Buffalo Diocese documents relating to clergy abuse, diocesan finances, and personnel files that are being reviewed by lawyers and survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Whether the diocese’s confidential files on clergy abuse will be released to the public is unknown. However, there has been an agreement in terms of the survivors of sexual abuse keeping the files confidential in addition to not pursuing any legal suits against individual parishes and other Catholic entities if they want to see the files for themselves.

In the early 2000s, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles had the largest release of internal church files. There were a ton of victims of sexual abuse that sued under legislation in California that suspended the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases. However, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles did not declare bankruptcy and it agreed to the disclosures as part of a global settlement with victims.

As for the Diocese of Buffalo, “The diocesan bankruptcy cases in New York could be different, because the Child Victims Act window that suspended the civil statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases continues until Aug. 14, giving abuse survivors some leverage in negotiations with diocese lawyers”, the CEO and legal director of Child USA said.

As of now, the diocese has to produce the files for the creditors’ committee by January 31st, 2021. The files in which the committee has requested in part of their agreement are comprised of the diocese’s finances and files regarding sexual abuse. 

“Ultimately, survivors and victims want to see these documents made public. “That is a primary concern of victims and survivors because the documents represent the truth, and they will help victims trying to heal”, an Attorney said.

On January 15th, 2021, the new leader of the Diocese of Buffalo will be installed and will make the decision of releasing the diocese’s confidential files on clergy abuse.

https://buffalonews.com/news/local/trove-of-buffalo-diocese-abuse-records-turned-over-to-victims-in-bankruptcy-court/article_a43dd8ce-4e9a-11eb-bb44-93864abd9851.html

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo and throughout New York. The Diocese of Buffalo filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Buffalo may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply. Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo will never be able to take action against the Diocese of Buffalo if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.   

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.

New Buffalo Bishop Needs Pressure, Not Praise

A new bishop has been named for the troubled Buffalo Catholic diocese. And a local Catholic group responded to his appointment with comments that made us at Horowitz law cringe, because we’ve seen this pattern time and time again.

On the day of Bishop Michael Fisher’s promotion, the lay organization, called The Movement to Restore Trust, congratulated Fisher, pledged to work with him and said it’s greatly encouraged that he “considers himself first and foremost a pastor.”

https://www.wxxinews.org/post/vatican-appoints-new-bishop-buffalo-catholic-diocese

Our take: What matters is not what an official SAYS that he is. What matters is what he SHOWS that he is.

Before any person or group immediately pledges to cooperate with Fisher – or gets their hopes up – consider these facts:

—Fisher’s been a priest for 30 years. That alone – three decades in a rigid, all-male, hierarchical and largely secretive structure – suggests he’s not going to rock the boat or bring the significant reforms Buffalo kids need and Buffalo Catholics deserve.

–Fisher was made vicar general, a high-ranking post, by the now-defrocked and disgraced Cardinal Ted McCarrick, who both committed and concealed abuse against both innocent kids and vulnerable adults.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_William_Fisher

–Fisher was made an auxiliary bishop by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, an even more powerful post. Wuerl resigned as head of the large and prestigious D.C. Archdiocese after a Pennsylvania grand jury report sparked outcry over his handling of abusive priests in the early 1990s.

https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/wuerl-resigns-ending-influential-tenure-wake-abuse-report

–Fisher originally comes out of the Baltimore Archdiocese, which attracted national attention just a few years ago when the award-winning series “The Keepers” premiered on Netflix. It described a long-time serial Maryland predator priest who may have murdered a nun who had been told of his crimes and may have been on the cusp of exposing them.

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/jul/15/keepers-church-response-netflix-baltimore-abuse

–Fisher claims he has no opinion on whether a church probe of now-retired Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone should be made public, even though it was launched over a year ago and has garnered considerable publicity.

https://www.wkbw.com/news/i-team/vatican-authorizes-investigation-of-diocese-of-buffalo

–Fisher seems to be stressing that he’ll ‘restore trust.’ In our view, that should be at least third on his priority list. First should be the safety of kids and second should be the healing of victims. When that happens, trust will begin to be restored.

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2020/12/newly-appointed-bishop-pledges-to-establish-trust-in-diocese-of-buffalo/

Finally, five years before Fisher was ordained, Fr. Gilbert Gauthe of Louisiana became infamous as the first and most notorious proven serial predator priests, garnering headlines from coast to coast.

That same year, 1985, every Catholic bishop in America got a searing and prescient 250 page report on pedophile priests from a trio of highly respected experts – a civil attorney, a canon lawyer and a priest. It recommended drastic changes in how these cases were handled. And it was tragically ignored.

Two and a half years ago, Fisher became an auxiliary bishop in Baltimore.

As best we can tell, in his long clerical career and his various positions – especially since his most recent elevation, neither the archdiocese he leads, nor Fisher himself, has taken a single noteworthy step toward better safeguarding kids, helping victims or exposing cover ups, beyond the absolute bare minimum.

Here’s the depressing pattern we mentioned:

Scandal engulfs a diocese. The bishop dies or retires or, in painfully few cases, resigns. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

Later, a new bishop is named. And everyone assumes he’ll do better.

Then, years later, they’re shocked and disappointed that little if anything has changed.

Consider a sports analogy. Many teams underperform. Then, in the off season, they make a change – a managerial shift, a big trade or whatever. Their loyal fans, desperate to see a failing franchise become a winner, naively and immediately get excited and hope for (and sometimes bet on) a sudden, dramatic turnaround for their beloved team.

The Catholic hierarchy, however, rarely makes a real change. It’s a hidebound institution. Its changes are usually largely cosmetic. Its leaders are remarkably similar men with remarkably similar backgrounds and attitudes and aspirations. It breeds and rewards and promotes ‘company men,’ who toe the official line and rarely show dynamic leadership.

So it’s somewhat irresponsible for any of us to prematurely relax and assume progress until progress is actually shown.

And it’s silly to expect any one man can radically reform an ancient structure single-handedly, especially if he immediately gets praise instead of pressure when he’s appointed.

On one hand, it’s hard to argue against being charitable. And it may seem cruel to squelch desperately needed hope.

But it’s right to do so, when the facts dictate otherwise.

 

Fr. Donald Lutz – Diocese of Buffalo

Father Donald Lutz 

Diocese of Buffalo 

Donald Lutz  Diocese of Buffalo Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1970

Assigned as Follows:

  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church (Buffalo, NY)
  • St. Leo the Great (Amherst, NY)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Donald Lutz: 

Father Donald Lutz was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Buffalo in 1970. According to media reports, in July 2020, a lawsuit was filed accusing him of repeated “unpermitted sexual contact” with a 13-year-old girl from 1975 to 1976. The lawsuit was filed under the Child Victims Act, in which the statute of limitations for a survivor of child sex abuse can be extended. The girl was a parishioner at St. Leo the Great in Amherst, where Father Lutz was assigned.

A second woman also claimed Father Lutz sexually abused her as a minor in the 1970s.  She is not filing a lawsuit, but did contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator regarding the priest’s behavior. In October 2020, Father Lutz was placed on administrative leave by Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, pending an investigation into two allegations of sexual abuse from the 1970s. He was the pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church at the time. Father Lutz denied both allegations, and claimed he was not made aware of the allegations against him until months later.  In August 2021, the Diocese of Buffalo announced that its internal review board determination that allegations of sexual abuse by Donald Lutz  at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in South Buffalo were substantiated. Lutz has been assigned to “permanent administrative leave” according to the Diocese.

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 adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com   

Federal Court Sets Buffalo Diocese Bankruptcy Filing Date For Abuse Claims

On Friday, September 11, Judge Carl L. Bucki of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York signed an Order granting survivors of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo until August 14, 2021, to file claims for compensation.

The August 14 date coincides with the expiration of the extended window created by the Child Victims Act, legislation that created a window of time for all survivors of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits against those responsible – including employers like the Diocese of Buffalo – no matter when the abuse occurred.  Previously, the overwhelming majority of claims had been barred by New York’s archaic statute of limitations.

Judge Bucki reasoned that the extended time period, which is slightly longer than in a traditional corporate bankruptcy, will allow the Diocese and its insurers to evaluate the entire picture of potential liability, and takes into account that it often takes survivors of childhood sexual abuse a long time to come forward.  Many do not come forward until the last minute, if at all, given the life-long effects of the trauma.

The Diocese has already sued eight of its insurance carriers in bankruptcy court to force a decision on whether they will provide coverage of claims.

Based upon our extended experience in these matters, we believe that the scale of sexual abuse and coverup in the Diocese of Buffalo rivals the scandals in much larger dioceses, like the Boston Archdiocese and Los Angeles Archdiocese, which serve exponentially more Catholics.  However, decisions by the Diocese of Buffalo’s leaders led to a much higher percentage of its parishioners being exposed to sexual predators.  Through our own investigation, we have identified at least 143 clergy who have been publicly accused of sexually abusing children in the Buffalo Diocese, an absolutely staggering number given the Catholic population of the area.

The August 14, 2021, date is referred to as a “bar date” by the Bankruptcy Court because the Diocese will be immune from suit in any claim not filed by that date.  Survivors will never again have any chance for accountability after August 14, so it is critically important that you contact a lawyer today if you were harmed by an employee or volunteer in the Diocese of Buffalo, including laypeople and teachers.  This also applies anyone sexually abused as an adult and the estates of deceased victims.

Our attorneys have decades of experience representing victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.  Contact us confidentially now.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo in New York.  The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020.  Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss a potential lawsuit and your other options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Buffalo Diocese.  Very strict filing deadlines have been set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us to discuss your case today.    Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.

Mr. Charles Lyons – Diocese of Buffalo

Mr. Charles Lyons

Diocese of Buffalo (Lay Teacher)

Charles Lyons Diocese of Buffalo Horowitz Law

 

Assignment History:

  • 1970s-1980s: St. Brigid (Buffalo)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Mr. Charles Lyons:

Mr. Charles Lyons (“Mr. Lyons”) was a lay teacher at St. Brigid in Buffalo. According to media reports, in 2020, he was named in a lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo Mr. Lyons was accused of sexually abusing a minor from 1979 to 1981, when the victim was approximately 14 to 16 years old. The child met Mr. Lyons when he/she participated in youth activities and programs at St. Brigid Church.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo in New York. The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020.  Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss a potential lawsuit and your other options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Buffalo Diocese.  

Very strict filing deadlines will soon be set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us to discuss your case today. Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.

Fr. Henry Lex – Diocese of Buffalo

Father Henry Lex

Diocese of Buffalo

Henry Lex Diocese of Buffalo Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1951

Retired: 1991

Died: 2011

Assignment History:

  • 1951:                St. Helen Church (Hinsdale, NY)
  • 1952-1953:      St. Hyacinth Church (Lackawanna, NY)
  • 1954:                St. Joseph New Cathedral (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1956-1959:      St. Casimir (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1967-1976:      Sacred Heart in Bennington Center (Wyoming County)
  • 1976-1991:      Our Lady of Czestochowa (Cheektowaga, NY)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Henry Lex:

Fr. Henry Lex was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Buffalo in 1951. He was assigned to the Buffalo Missionary Apostolate parish, at St. Helen in Hinsdale New York. In 1952, he became the assistant pastor at several parishes in the diocese. In 1959, he began serving as chaplain to the Felician Sisters Mother-house and, in 1967, was made pastor of Sacred Heart in Bennington Center. In 1976, he was named pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Cheektowaga, the parish he served when he retired in 1991. He died at the age of 86.

According to media reports, in 2020, he was named in a lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo  was accused of sexual abuse of a minor. The details of the sexual abuse allegations, including when and where the alleged abuse occurred, or the victim’s age/gender, are unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo in New York.  The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss a potential lawsuit and your other options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Buffalo Diocese.  

Very strict filing deadlines will soon be set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us to discuss your case today. Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.

Fr. Stephen Ladika – Diocese of Buffalo

Father Stephen Ladika

Diocese of BuffaloStephen Ladika Diocese of Buffalo Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1952

Died: 2011

Assignment History:

  • 1953-1965: St. John the Baptist (Alden, NY)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Stephen Ladika:

Fr. Stephen Ladika was ordained to the priesthood in 1952 for the Diocese of Buffalo. After serving the Church for 13 years, he was granted leave from the ministry in 1965. He then moved to Boca Raton, Florida, and got married and had children. He became the president and chief operating officer of Boca Raton Community Hospital (now Boca Raton Regional Hospital) through the 1980s. He retired in 1988, and died in 2011 at the age of 83.

According to media reports, the Diocese of Buffalo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Among the complaints was a lawsuit filed in July 2020, under the NY Child Victims Act against the Diocese of Buffalo in which Fr. Ladika was accused of sexual abuse of a minor. The suit states that the victim attended St. John the Baptist in Alden, NY, where Fr. Ladika served. The victim claims that Fr. Ladika engaged in unpermitted sexual contact from 1958 to 1964 when Plaintiff was approximately 8 to 14 years old. No further details have been released.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo in New York.  The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020.  Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss a potential lawsuit and your other options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Buffalo Diocese.  

Very strict filing deadlines will soon be set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us to discuss your case today. Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.

Fr. John H. Kean – Diocese of Buffalo

Father John Kean

Diocese of BuffaloJohn Kean Diocese of Buffalo Horowitz Law

Ordained: Unknown

Assignment History:

  • 1970s: Our Lady of Hope (Buffalo, NY)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father John Kean:

Father John Kean was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Buffalo. According to media reports, in 2020, he was accused in a lawsuit filed under the NY Child Victims Act of repeatedly sexually abusing a child. The lawsuit states that the victim was a student at Our Lady of Hope in Buffalo, NY, where Fr. Kean served. The victim claims Fr. Kean engaged in unpermitted sexual contact that occurred in 1973 when  ten years old. No further details have been released. Most of the more than 170 Child Victims Act lawsuits filed against the diocese don’t include much detail about the allegations of child sex abuse lodged against priests.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo in New York.  The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020.  Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss a potential lawsuit and your other options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Buffalo Diocese.  

Very strict filing deadlines will soon be set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us to discuss your case today. Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.

Fr. William J. Honer – Diocese of Buffalo

Father William Honer

Diocese of Buffalo

William Honer Diocese of Buffalo Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1957

Died: 2014

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father William Honer:

Father William Honer was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Buffalo in 1957. He eventually left the priesthood, and went to work for the state Office of Mental Health. In November 2002, he died suddenly at the age of 69.

According to media reports, in 2020, he was accused in a lawsuit filed under the NY Child Victims Act of repeatedly sexually abusing a child. The details of the sexual abuse allegations, including when and where the alleged abuse occurred, or the victim’s age/gender, are unknown. Most of the more than 170 Child Victims Act lawsuits filed against the diocese do not include much detail about the allegations of child sex abuse lodged against the priests.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo in New York.  The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020.  Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss a potential lawsuit and your other options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Buffalo Diocese.  

Very strict filing deadlines will soon be set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us to discuss your case today. Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.

Fr. John Gabalski – Diocese of Buffalo

Father John Gabalski

Diocese of BuffaloJohn Gabalski Diocese of Buffalo Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1948

Died: 2003

Assignment History:

  • 1949-1965:     St. Mary College (Orchard Lake, MI)
  • 1965:               Resurrection Church (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1966:               St. Florian (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1966-1974:     Diocesan Preparatory Seminary (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1974-1978:     Queen of Peace (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1978-2003:     St. Stanislaus (Buffalo, NY)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father John Gabalski:

Fr. John Gabalski was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Buffalo before moving to Michigan in 1948. He returned to Buffalo in 1965, serving for a short time as assistant pastor at Resurrection Church, Cheektowaga, and St. Florian Parish in Buffalo. In 1966, Msgr. Gabalski joined the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary faculty in Buffalo, and served until 1974, when he was assigned as the pastor of Queen of Peace in Buffalo. He remained there until 1978 when was assigned as pastor of St. Stanislaus, serving there until his death in 2003.

According to media reports, in 2020, Fr. Gabalski was named in a lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo, alleging that he sexually abused a minor. The details of the allegations, including when and where the alleged abuse occurred, or the victim’s age/gender, are unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo in New York.  The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020.  Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss a potential lawsuit and your other options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Buffalo Diocese.  

Very strict filing deadlines will soon be set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us to discuss your case today. Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.