Protest against Alleged Abusive Priest

By Al Vaughters
June 25, 2010

[with video]

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Sex abuse victims came to Buffalo Friday demanding that the diocese remove a man they call a pedophile priest.

Activists tracked down a Catholic priest to western New York that they suspect has sexually molested children in the past, and demanded action by the Diocese of Buffalo to expose him.

Mark Lyman said, "Truth is power, and we have nothing to hide. We want the truth exposed, and we hope that by doing that, if we can save one more child from sexual abuse, that is our goal."

The group is called SNAP, short for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, based in Chicago, and is one of the leaders in exposing abusive clergy in the Roman Catholic Church. SNAP came to call out Father Gabriel Patil, who they say was among priests near Allentown, Pennsylvania who were sued by victims of abuse. SNAP says Father Patil is one of the Barnabite Fathers assigned to St. Anthony Zaccaria Seminary in Lewiston.

Barbara Blaine said, "Now we found that Father Patil, who has had contacts with this diocese here in Buffalo, abused children over in Pennsylvania. Of course, that leads us to question whether any children were abused here."

But in a brief a statement, the Barnabite Fathers refer to the "erroneous allegations" against Father Patil, claiming Patil was mentioned in those lawsuits against the church, but was "never named as a defendant." They also say, "The case was (finally) dismissed in 2005." But the protesters are also fighting to update state laws that limit the time victims of sexual abuse can press criminal charges.

"Because in other states in the country where they have changed these archaic laws, we have seen significant numbers of sexual predators exposed," added Lyman.

To be clear, Father Gabriel Patil was assigned to the St. Anthony Zaccaria Seminary in Lewiston, but church officials say he is now serving in India.


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