Bishop Malone reacts to St. Mary’s priest facing abuse allegations

By Marissa Perlman
March 27, 2018

A Pastor from a Parish in Dunkirk has been put on administrative leave by Bishop Richard Malone following an abuse complaint.

Tuesday, the Bishop says their investigation into the allegations against Father Dennis Riter is still in the early stages.

Dennis Riter was an active priest as of Palm Sunday, but now he will be released of his duties as long as this investigation continues.

We spoke with Mike Reck, who represents victims of child sexual abuse. He says his new client “Matt,” is the person who filed these allegations against Father Riter.

It was a very different meeting for the annual appeal week campaign for Catholic Charities, Tuesday.

Bishop Richard Malone was asked about how he learned of the allegations against Father Dennis G. Riter of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.

Bishop Malone said, “The initial look at the case convinced us it was not what we call frivolous. In other words this is something we need to look at, that is not a judgement at all yet.”

Bishop Malone says he was notified “very recently.”

He says he is praying for the victims and Father Riter, and wants the parish  not to assume guilt.

“There will be a professional investigation that will happen, and it’s a mistake to judge.”

The situation is the first since the Bishop released a list of clergy accused of sexual abuse; where a priest was pulled from active ministry.

Lawyer Mike Reck with Jeff Anderson and Associates is representing a former altar boy at Our Lady of Perpetual Help who wants to only be known as “Matt.”

He shared with us a timeline of where Father Riter served since he was ordained in 1971.

Reck suggests victims should go to law enforcement instead of the Diocese to report abuse in the future.

“This is the institution that has done a miserable job of self policing it’s clerics regarding child sex abuse.”

Bishop Malone says it’s possible there more people could come forward with allegations of abuse by active priests.

 “I’m hoping and praying there’s no more bad news. If we do, sadly, we will deal with it effectively.”

We did hear from the District Attorney’s Office who mentioned Monday they would look into the Father Riter case, we’re told it’s not within the statue of limitations for criminal prosecution, so they wont investigate.


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