Retired priest placed on administrative leave following child abuse complaint

Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

July 9, 2021

By Harold McNeil

The Diocese of Buffalo announced Friday that a retired priest who continues to assist in the ministry of St. Matthew’s parish in Buffalo has been placed on administrative leave in the wake of a child abuse complaint against him.

A statement released by the diocese said it recently became aware of an action brought pursuant to the Child Victims Act by a woman who alleges she was abused as a child in the early 1980s by Monsignor Leo McCarthy, 88.

The complaint was not served on the diocese but was discovered during a search of publicly filed complaints, diocesan officials said.

The diocese notified the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, reached out to the attorney for the plaintiff and approached McCarthy, who denied committing any acts of abuse.

The diocese reported the matter to the Independent Review Board, which, it said, will be responsible for appointing an independent investigator.

Since the woman did not file a complaint with the diocese’s victim assistance coordinator, the diocese reached out to her attorney to determine if she is willing to cooperate with an investigation.

The diocese said its legal counsel has been advised that the woman who made the complaint is unwilling to do so.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher has decided to place McCarthy on administrative leave pending the results of an independent investigation and a final determination by the Independent Review Board.

Fisher said that the decision to place McCarthy on leave is not intended to be a comment on his guilt or innocence, nor the complaint brought against him.