Allegations against former area priest ‘not substantiated,’ diocese says, as alleged victim’s attorneys protest

The Daily News

July 3, 2018

By Matt Surtel and Mallory Diefenbach

Dunkirk – A former Batavia priest has returned to active ministry after sexual abuse allegations against him were found to be “not substantiated.”

Rev. Dennis G. Riter was placed on administrative leave in March. He returned to his duties at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Dunkirk this past weekend.

The complaints against Riter had been investigated by former Erie County assistant district attorney Scott F. Riordan on behalf of the Buffalo Diocese. Riordan was assistant chief of the Sexual Assault Bureau in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and is currently a village justice in Kenmore.

Riter was pastor from 2002 to 2009 at the former St. Mary’s Church in Batavia.

Allegations were made against Riter this past spring by two former altar boys and their families at a Buffalo-area church. They did not include Batavia.

The allegations were detailed in a news release issued Monday afternoon by Jeff Anderson and Associates, the firm representing Matthew Golden, one of the two altar boys who accused Riter of molesting him as a child.

In addition to the reports of two sexual abuse survivors, Golden and Nick Caetano, a May 1992 letter from a then-seminarian in the diocese to Bishop Edward D. Head and Bishop Edward Grosz, was uncovered by press reports and details the alleged abuse of another boy at Queen of All Saints in Lackawanna. The 1992 letter from a student at Christ the King Seminary detailed a father’s frantic search for his young son who had gone missing.

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