Under pressure, Buffalo bishop names 42 priests accused of abuse

Buffalo News

March 20, 2018

By Jay Tokasz

For more than 30 years, Timothy J. Clark lived with the emotional scars of being sexually abused by a parish priest.

The name of the man who allegedly assaulted Clark remained a closely guarded secret. Clark didn’t want to talk much about it. Bishops for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo refused to acknowledge anything about priests who were accused of molesting minors.

Bishop Richard J. Malone altered course Tuesday morning by disclosing the names of 42 priests facing allegations of sex abuse, including 27 priests whose names had not previously been linked in public to molestation complaints. The diocese joined about 30 other dioceses in the country that have disclosed the names of clergy accused of sexual misconduct.

Among the 27 new names was the Rev. Louis J. Hendricks, the priest that Clark said repeatedly abused him when he was a teenager growing up in South Buffalo in the 1980s.

The stunning list stirred a mix of emotions in Clark, a former altar boy who is now 49 and lives in Alaska.

“It was very surreal seeing Hendricks’ name finally put out there. And it makes me wonder how much did the church know before he got to me,” he said.

Hendricks died in 1990 at the age of 53. Two dozen priests on the list released Tuesday were deceased, including Monsignor Joseph E. Schieder, a powerful cleric who had advised two presidents on youth issues in the 1950s and 1960s. A handful of other monsignors – a Vatican designation reserved for certain priests who were recommended to the pope because of their good work – made the list.

Most of the priests on the list were never prosecuted on criminal charges or sued in civil courts. Some of the priests were quietly removed from ministry under the guise of early retirements or medical leaves. The diocese on Tuesday did not provide any information about the specific allegations against each priest, or disclose where the living priests are residing.

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