Non-profit protests reinstated Dunkirk priest
June 30, 2018
A one-person protest at a Dunkirk church served to remind parishoners that not everyone is happy with the Diocese's decision to reinstate a priest who was recently cleared of allegations.
DUNKIRK, N.Y. – A one-person protest at a Dunkirk church served to remind parishoners that not everyone is happy with the Diocese’s decision to reinstate a priest who was recently cleared of allegations.
Father Dennis Riter, who was placed on leave back in March for sexual abuse allegations, was cleared to return to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church on Thursday.
Riter was originally accused by two men who said the priest abused them in Buffalo while Riter was serving at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church in Buffalo.
Saturday, as parishoners came to and from services, Robert Hoatson held up signs that said “Remove Riter” and “Shame on Malone.”
Hoatson is the co-founder of ‘Road to Recovery,’ a non-profit that assists priest abuse victims.
He says the Buffalo Diocese lacks transparency in how it handles abuse claims.
"They try to minimize as much damage as they can, and they try to re-victimize the victims whenever they can, and in this case, they're doing exactly that. They are revictimizing these three men,” Hoatson said.
Hoatson says there are three victims and that the Diocese and District Attorney never interviewed the alleged third victim. Previous reporting indicates there were just two alleged victims who came forward.
According to a Channel 2 source familiar with issue, the third alleged victim couldn't be interviewed because he died about a decade ago.
Regarding why Riter was reinstated, Diocese spokesperson George Richert says proof just wasn't there.
"We knew some people would question this decision, but that wasn't a reason to keep someone out of ministry if a former assistant district attorney investigation and a review by out Diocesan review board determined the case to be unsubstantial,” Richert said.