Tag: Samuel Venne

Buffalo Bishop to Predator Priest: You’re Either Supervised or You’re on Your Own!

It’s about time!

That’s how we at Horowitz Law reacted to the news that a New York bishop is telling his credibly accused clerics “Either live under supervision or live without my financial support.”

A Buffalo TV station reports that a priest, deemed by Buffalo church and lay officials ‘credibly accused’ of abuse, is fighting his boss’ ultimatum.

We solidly side with the bishop. It’s about time a Catholic prelate uses his powers to keep suspected abusers away from kids.

For decades, bishops have recruited, educated, ordained, paid, supervised and transferred priests, even or especially those who do wrong. But when their wrongdoing surfaces, bishops often feign powerlessness over these same priests. When they do this, bishops usually blame the church’s internal, archaic, ‘canon laws.’

“Once a priest, always a priest,” the claim goes, so “Church policy is that we must keep Father on the payroll, no matter what he’s done. And this is America, he’s a free man, and I don’t own a prison.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Criminal clerics can, of course, be defrocked and stripped of their collars. And while this is of course America and all citizens have rights, men voluntarily give up some of those rights when they become ordained.

Every U.S, man can marry. But not, of course, if he swears to be celibate in exchange for the many benefits of priesthood.

Every U.S, man can live where he wants. But not of course, if he swears to obey a bishop forever, again in exchange for the many benefits of priesthood.

So these claims of powerless by bishops who are, in fact, very powerful, are hollow.

For centuries, bishops have used – and many still use – their power to protect criminal clerics (by deceiving parishioners, stone-walling police, stiff-arming prosecutors, bullying victims, intimidating witnesses, discrediting whistleblowers and using their political and personal connections to extract favors and second chances from secular authorities).

So it’s high time they start using their power to protect kids.

And there’s no better place to start than by supervising known offenders.

Since the Buffalo bishop is reversing centuries of corruption, it’s no surprise that at least one child molesting cleric is crying “Foul!”

According to one news account, an accused Buffalo abuser, Fr. Samuel Venne, says he’s innocent of the allegation. He has reportedly not “had the opportunity to testify and present evidence” and “might be a victim of mistaken identity.”

Let’s unpack this.

First, is Fr. Venne claiming he sends emails to Catholic officials but never gets a reply? That he sends registered mail through the post office but it’s return “Sender refused to accept?” Not likely.

Evidence can be provided in a lot of ways, as Fr. Venne surely knows. It doesn’t have to be in a courtroom.

(Indeed, for decades victims have been forbidden to present THEIR evidence in courts all across this country. One reason for this injustice: Catholic bishops, priests, lobbyists and public relations teams have fought to install or preserve predator-friendly deadlines like the statute of limitations that block prosecutions and trials and keeps evidence under wraps.)

So it’s more than a little ironic for Fr. Venne to complain that the child sex abuse reports against him haven’t yet been litigated in a formal courtroom.

This cleric’s lawyer claims Buffalo’s bishop has a “moral obligation to provide for these (accused) priests.”

We at Horowitz Law agree. But we believe that moral obligation is secondary. The bishop’s first duty is to protect vulnerable kids from devastating crimes. And that obligation requires that church officials do all they can to keep known and suspected predators away from children.

Adults can often take care of themselves. Kids most often cannot, especially when dealing with child molesters who are often well-educated, well-spoken and well-practiced in carefully selecting already vulnerable youngsters who likely won’t tell, won’t be believed or whose parents will be unable or unwilling to pursue the trauma of a long, uncertain, stress-filled criminal prosecution.

Finally, could this be a case of ‘mistaken identity?’ Of course. Anything is possible. But go to the thorough, accurate and widely-respected website called BishopAccountability.org. Click on “Our Research” and then on “Data on the Crisis.”

You may be shocked at how rare ‘false allegations’ are.

So Buffalo Catholics should say ‘kudos’ to their bishop, and keep their kids away from Fr. Venne.

Fr. Samuel Venne – Diocese of Buffalo

Father Samuel Venne

Diocese of Buffalo

Samuel Venne Diocese of Buffalo Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1978

Placed on Leave: 2018 

Assigned As Follows:

  • Our Lady of Pompei (Depew, NY) 
  • St. Stephen’s Parish (Grand Island, NY)
  • Boy Scout Chaplain
  • Unnamed parishes in Buffalo, Batavia, South Buffalo, Niagara Falls
  • Pendleton Nursing Home 

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Samuel Venne: 

Father Samuel Venne was ordained to the priesthood in 1978. He worked in many parishes around New York and was a Boy Scout chaplain and scoutmaster during his career. According to media reports, in April 2018, he was placed on administrative leave amidst allegations of past child sexual abuse. The alleged abuse dates back to the 1980’s, while he was serving at Our Lady of Pompei in Depew, NY.

After two months of investigating the claims against Father Venne, the Diocese of Buffalo determined that the allegations were substantiated. No specific information was disclosed regarding the age or gender of the victim. Details of the allegation, including when and where the alleged misconduct occurred are also unknown. Father Venne denied all charges against him.

In April 2020, he was one of 23 priests removed off of the Diocese of Buffalo’s payroll through an agreement it reached with survivors in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In May 2021, the Vatican announced that Father Venne would be suspended from ministry for seven years, during which he cannot present himself as a priest in good standing. Father Venne refused to sign the precept with the conditions of his punishment, and plans to appeal the decision.

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.