2nd Deacon Urges Buffalo Bishop to Resign over Clergy Abuse
By Jay Tokasz
October 14, 2018
|Deacon Paul C. Emerson is calling on Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign because of his handling of clergy sexual abuse allegatioins. Emerson is a deacon at St. Joseph University Church in Buffalo. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)|
A Catholic church deacon who said he was molested by a priest as a teenager has become the second cleric to call for Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign over his handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations.
Paul C. Emerson, a deacon at St. Joseph University Church in Buffalo, said in an interview with The News that Malone is complicit in a cover-up of the abuse and needs to step down for healing in the diocese to begin.
“I think he should resign,” said Emerson. “The guy has lost the confidence of a great number of people, people that need to trust their bishop.”
“I think there should be a cleansing of the bishops that were involved in this in any way, shape or form,” he added.
Emerson joined Paul L. Snyder III, a deacon at St. Mary Church in Swormville, in urging Malone to step aside immediately, as a clergy sex abuse scandal continues to rock the Buffalo Diocese.
A retired priest's admission to The News in February that he had molested dozens of boys in the 1970s and 1980s set off the scandal that has unfolded in media coverage for nearly eight months. It escalated in August with the leak of internal church documents to WKBW-TV. The documents showed that Malone kept two priests in ministry despite complaints of inappropriate behavior, prompting calls for the bishop's resignation from Snyder, Rep. Brian Higgins and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, among others.
Malone has apologized but said he will not resign.
The two deacons represent only a small fraction of the 133 permanent deacons in the diocese, and so far no priests have publicly said Malone should step down.
Emerson, 64, also is now the second local cleric to state publicly that he was sexually abused by a priest.
Emerson made that disclosure at a St. Joseph University parish forum in September for church members concerned about the sex abuse scandal. Just days before Emerson’s remarks in the forum, the Rev. Ryszard S. Biernat revealed at a Mass that he was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest.
Biernat declined to comment further to The News about what happened to him. But the 37-year-old priest has told other people in the diocese that a veteran Buffalo priest sexually harassed and abused him when Biernat was in seminary studying for the priesthood.
Abused as a teen
Emerson said his abuse dates back to 1970, when he was a 16, and involves encounters with two priests in separate incidents. Emerson grew up Catholic, attended Infant of Prague parochial school in Cheektowaga and served as an altar boy.
“We were a family that adored priests, thought they sat at the right hand of God,” said Emerson.
So Emerson said he was thrilled when the Rev. Loville Martlock asked him to come along on a camping trip to Utah with another boy and the Rev. Mark Friel.
The last day of the trip, Emerson said Martlock gave him Coors beer before massaging him and groping him inside a tent until Emerson fought off the priest’s advances.
Emerson said he didn’t tell anyone at the time.