Bishop Fisher places a retired Buffalo priest on administrative leave after abuse accusation is discovered

WIVB [Buffalo NY]

July 9, 2021

By Patrick Ryan

88-year-old Reverend Monsignor Leo McCarthy, a retired Buffalo Catholic priest, has been placed on administrative leave after a complaint of alleged abuse was discovered by the diocese.

The alleged abuse came to light through a Child Victims Act complaint, claiming this individual was abused as a child in the early 1980s at St. Matthew parish. The Buffalo Catholic Diocese came across the complaint during a search of publicly filed complaints. The diocese was not directly served the claim.

The diocese notified the Erie County District Attorney’s office and contacted the plaintiff’s attorney after learning of the complaint. The matter has also been reported to their Independent Review Board — responsible for appointing an independent investigator. 

The plaintiff is unwilling to cooperate in the investigation.

McCarthy was placed on leave by Bishop Michael Fisher. The 88-year-old, who assists in parish ministry, denies committing any abuse.

“As a result, Bishop Fisher has decided to place Msgr. McCarthy on administrative leave pending a thorough investigation by the appointed independent investigator and a final determination by the Independent Review Board.  Bishop Fisher wishes to emphasize that the decision to restrict Msgr. McCarthy’s priestly faculties at this time is in no way intended to indicate his guilt or is it a determination about the truth or falsity of the complaints.”

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.