WBEN Photo/Brendan Keany

Questioning settlement offers made by Diocese of Buffalo to victims of alleged clergy abuse

"I would like to know how they come to these figures"

December 20, 2018 - 2:09 pm

Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - In what has become an all too familiar scene, alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse gathered on the sidewalk across from the Catholic Center and the Diocese of Buffalo Thursday to call into question recent settlement offers that have been made and publicized.  The criticism of the offers and repeated call for Bishop Richard Malone to step down come a day after attorney Mitchell Garabedian released details of thirteen offers made to clients of his.

The settlements in question range in amounts from $10,000 to $340,000 and alleged victims and attorneys representing them are questioning how the dollar amounts are being arrived at.

Robert Hoatson of the Road to Recovery Ministry has continually called for all documents related to alleged abuse in the diocese to be released, and said Thursday, "why is it that Bishop Malone will not completely come forward and tell the exact and honest and transparent truth?"  Hoatson says the only way to determine the validity of offers and make sense of it all is to have the documents in-hand that tell the truth.  "Release every single document, piece of paper, file that exists against clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo", said Hoatson.

With victims of alleged abuse by his side, Hoatson again called on Bishop Malone to step aside and allow for full transparency with regard to the investigations and offer.  Hoatson, along with victims, is questioning the settlement offers that have come to light, saying, "the $10,000 that has been offered to some victims and the 340-some-odd thousand dollars that has been offered to victims, where do those numbers come from and why?"

It was Michael Whalen who came forward and opened the door for the tsunami of allegations made against diocesan priests earlier this year.  Whalen alleges abuse by Father Norbert Orsolits, who later admitted to acts of abuse, and says his settlement is "small" and he has rejected it through his attorney Mitchell Garabedian.

Whalen spoke softly and angrily at the media gathering Thursday, stating;  "I would like to know how you can offer a settlement to one victim of $10,000 and then to another victim hundreds of thousands of dollars.  How do you discriminate against what a person’s life is worth.   I would like to know how they come to these figures.  My life was ruined by this man.  I would like to know how they come to this number.  What they offered my just re-victimized me more.  It’s a sad case.  Abuse is abuse"

Late Thursday, Garabedian announced Whalen's award offer was less than $50,000.

The Diocese of Buffalo Thursday tweeted out clarifications on their award policies:



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