John Doe Accuses Wny Priest of Sexual Abuse
By Mike Baggerman
April 5, 2018
An anonymous victim of clergy sexual abuse came forward on Thursday in the latest case against the Diocese of Buffalo.
John Doe, a 48-year-old male who grew up in Western New York but now lives in Washington, D.C., is accusing a former priest from the Diocese of Buffalo of sexual abuse in 1981, when Doe was 11 years old. Doe said the abuse occurred when he was an altar server. He was invited by the priest to a confessional and was sexually abused outside the booth following his confession.
We have reached out to the accused priest, who is still alive and lives outside of New York State, but have not received comment. We will not publish the name of the priest until we have further vetted the story.
"I spent 15 years working as an educator and I worked with numerous families that had survived this horrendous crime," Doe said. "I don't feel that society is very fair in terms of how people move forward. In my case, I've had a lifetime of behavioral health issues associated with this and I think there is a societal stigma attached to that....This occurred when I was 11. The first I ever discussed this was when I was in college, when I was 20 or 21. I have not really spoken a lot about this in my life."
Doe said that he may come forward publicly at some point but said he's not looking to become the face of this movement. He said he hopes his story encourages other victims to come forward.
The Catholic Diocese was never informed of the abuse when Doe was a child. However, his attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, submitted a complaint on his behalf on March 19, a day before the Diocese unveiled their list of 42 names of priests accused of sexual abuse. The accused priest did not appear on the list released by the Diocese of Buffalo on March 20.
"It's very important that the Diocese of Buffalo practices transparency," Garabedian said. "It's time to show the documents, indicating who knew what and when. What supervisors knew about the sexual abuse and which sexual abusers are named in those documents. It's time to allow those victims to try and heal and move on with their lives and one important way to do that is transparency. The cover up must end and it must end today."
The Diocese of Buffalo confirmed to WBEN that the priest in question was a member of the Diocese and provided the following statement:
“We encourage any victim to start the process of reporting any claim of abuse by calling our Victim Assistance Coordinator at (716) 895-3010. Jacqueline Joy is not only a trained trauma counselor, but she can begin the process of taking a claim. This is what we consider to be ‘step 1’ for any victim. All calls will be returned as soon as possible.”
WBEN will post audio of John Doe's phone call once the story has been further investigated. Road to Recovery late Thursday told reporters it can no longer determine if the priest in question is living or deceased.