Buffalo Diocese whistleblower could face consequences for speaking out

Lawsuit may come but criticism already levvied

Mike Baggerman
November 01, 2018 - 3:00 am

Siobhan O'Connor (right) and Mitchell Garabedian (Left) speak outside the Diocese of Buffalo. October 30, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Brendan Keany)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The decision for Siobhan O'Connor to publicly admit to whistleblowing from within the Diocese of Buffalo could come at a steep price.

Already, Bishop Richard Malone of the Diocese of Buffalo issued a statement which called O'Connor's comments about the alleged cover up of institutional clergy sex abuse "embarrassingly contradictory" and showed e-mails showing O'Connor lauding the bishop and the church.

In addition to the public criticism, O'Connor also faces a slim possibility of a lawsuit. WBEN legal analyst Paul Cambria said he doesn't think any lawsuit would be appropriate.

"If she had lawful access to these materials as the assistant, then there's no crime I can think of that she would have committed by simply making copies or viewing them, etc.," Cambria said. "...Unless there's some kind of non-disclosure contract that they signed, it seems to me that there's no violation of the law, at least what we've been told from the media."

O'Connor hired Mitchell Garabedian, a prominent attorney from Boston who has handled clergy sex abuse cases for years. Cambria said hiring Garabedian was a wise choice by O'Connor because he's been involved in those cases for years. 

Garabedian also represents James Faluszczak, who is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Erie. Faluszczak now lives in Buffalo and has called on Bishop Malone to resign on several occasions.

"I never said anything in public until I had Mitchell Garabedian as my attorney," Faluszczak told WBEN. "I completely understand it...He's never told me what I can and can't say...You don't talk about the nature of active investigations and the details unless it's uniquely your own information. You don't talk to about the ins and outs of an active federal or state investigation that's going on."

Faluszczak said that it would be foolhardy to the Diocese of Buffalo to press any charges against O'Connor.

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