By Christopher White, The Tablet’s National Correspondent
ROME – As embattled Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, N.Y., faces serious scrutiny of his handling of sex abuse cases, the original whistleblower in the case is set to appear in an interview with ‘60 Minutes’.
Siobhan O’Connor, the former secretary to Bishop Malone, will speak publicly for the first time on this Sunday’s broadcast.
O’Connor has become a central figure in an investigative story chronicled by Charlie Specht of WKBW Buffalo. His reporting efforts have led Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, the pope’s point man on sexual abuse, to request the Vatican to investigate Bishop Malone.
In an e-mail to Specht earlier this month, spokesman for the Boston archdiocese, Terrence Donilon, said “It is the Cardinal’s assessment that the information in your reports should be reviewed by the Church authorities who have oversight and jurisdiction for the action or inaction of diocesan leadership in Buffalo with regard to the reports of abuse.”
“For those reasons, Cardinal O’Malley will send the documentation of your reports to the Most Rev. Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, with note of the content and allegations in the reports,” Donilon continued.
Specht’s three-part series for 7 Eyewitness News reveals that more than 100 priests of the diocese have been accused of abuse, despite the fact that Bishop Malone had previously released a list of only 42 names of priests “who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.”
Bishop Malone has denied his mishandling of the cases and said in response to Cardinal O’Malley’s plans that it was “unfortunate” that he did not contact the diocese prior to alerting the nuncio.
In September, the New York State Attorney General launched an investigation into the handling of sex abuse cases for all eight dioceses within the state.
In a statement in advance of her Sunday interview, O’Connor said “Please know that my conscience compelled me to take action regarding Bishop Malone because of my profound concern for victims, the diocese and our community. As a faithful Catholic, I could not abide by what I witnessed at the Chancery.”
“As the whistleblower, my heart is heavy, but my soul is at peace,” she concluded.