Lawsuit claims Trautman, former Buffalo diocesan leader and Erie bishop, covered up clergy abuse case


January 2, 2020

By Chris Horvatits

A new Child Victims Act lawsuit filed Thursday details the lengths the accuser says Church officials took to cover up clergy abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo. It specifically blames Donald Trautman, who served as vicar general and auxiliary bishop in Buffalo before becoming the Bishop of Erie in 1990.

“In the lawsuit, we state that Bishop Trautman covered this abuse up,” said Paul Barr, who represents the alleged victim.

The abuse in question is alleged to have been committed in the early-to-mid 1980s, while Trautman was still in Buffalo, by Rev. Gerald Smyczynski. Smyczynski’s name appears on the list of clergy who are credibly accused of abuse against a minor in the Diocese of Buffalo. He died in 1999.

The lawsuit alleges, “Bishop Trautman expedited an annulment for a member of the plaintiff’s family with the hope of ensuring their silence about the abuses perpetrated by Smyczynski.”

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