Movement to Restore Trust Supports Victims' Quest for Justice

"We're in this for the long haul"

WBEN Photo/Susan Rose


Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - "This is the right step for victims." Maureen Hurley, of the Lay Catholic group, Movement to Restore Trust(MRT), said she can't say she's surprised at the scope of the claims filed on the first day under the Child Victim's Act.

110 local claims were filed on day one under the Child Victim's Act.  That's one quarter of the claims that were filed statewide. 

"I think we're all going to come to learn that the issue of child sex abuse is very pervasive in our society and unfortunately we're all going to be awakened to that as we look at lawsuits against the Buffalo Diocese as well as other organizations where access to children was an easy thing," she said.

Justice and healing were the main motivators that caused MRT to form in 2018. Hurley said she looks at the opening of the one year filing window Wednesday as the next step in the healing process for many of the victims.

"From the beginning, our belief was that, for decades, the church was more interested in its reputation than on the safety of victims.  There was so much anger as we talked to different people last year about who's responsibility it was to make positive change in the church.  And waiting for the Vatican, or waiting for another authority to make change, you know, we've learned that the church moves as its own pace," she said. " We felt that taking a step locally would allow many of us to channel our anger into something positive."  The self-funded group has been working to restore trust and confidence in the Church in the wake of public disclosures about the diocese’s handling of clergy sex abuse cases.

Hurley said meaningful change takes time. "We're in it for the long haul."  The group is looking beyond Bishop Richard Malone's time in Buffalo. "Even after the Bishop retires, we hope to have some momentum built here, so the next Bishop, that is assigned to Buffalo, can step into a community where positive reform is underway."

Asked how people can get involved, Hurley suggests visiting their site, "We recently issued a 68 page report that lays out the recommendations of 6 working groups, involving 150 people, from January to March. Some recommendations made to Bishop Malone have already been put into place. 

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