Accused of sex abuse, Buffalo priest fires back with defamation lawsuit

Buffalo News

January 22, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A Buffalo priest who was accused in a Child Victims Act lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy in the 1980s is firing back with a lawsuit of his own that alleges his accuser lied about the abuse and slandered the priest.

The Rev. Roy T. Herberger, former longtime pastor of SS. Columba & Brigid Church, filed the defamation suit Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Erie County. The lawsuit is the first known defamation case in Western New York filed against a person over allegations made in a Child Victims Act suit.

Herberger said he wanted “to take a stand” to prevent people from making false claims.

“Know that you can be sued. It’s not just so simple that you can make an accusation,” Herberger said in an interview with The Buffalo News.

The Buffalo Diocese put Herberger on administrative leave in June 2018 after receiving a complaint that the priest had sexually abused an 8-year-old boy in the 1980s. Herberger vehemently denied the allegation in a letter to parishioners and friends. Following a diocese investigation that determined the allegation was unfounded, he was returned to active ministry in December 2018.

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