However, while most of the alleged victims agreed to halt their lawsuits in exchange for the documents, 36 people, represented by attorney Richard Weisbeck, did not.
Chief Judge Carl Bucki of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York ruled March 31 that those 36 cases would remain on hold until Oct. 1, citing a potential drain on diocesan assets that could threaten settlement payments for other alleged victims.
Diocesan parishes and parochial elementary and secondary schools, as well as Catholic Charities of Buffalo, are not included in the bankruptcy filing as they are separate legal entities.
Bishop Richard Malone, who led the diocese from 2012 until last year, resigned in December 2019 following a Vatican-ordered investigation of the diocese by Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
Bishop Malone faced accusations during his tenure that he kept priests in active ministry who had been credibly accused of abuse, and shielded abuse allegations from the public eye.
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New York’s Attorney General Letitia James also filed a lawsuit during November 2020 in the state’s supreme court against the diocese, Bishop Emeritus Richard Malone, retired auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz, and Buffalo’s apostolic administrator at the time, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany.
The state alleges that the diocese, Malone, and Grosz failed to properly investigate claims of clergy sex abuse. The state also claims diocesan leadership did not “refer unassignable priests to the Vatican,” monitor priests with credible accusations, or take necessary action against diocesan priests credibly accused of child sex abuse.
The state is seeking a court order for the diocese to comply with its own policies and procedures on clergy sex abuse, and for the appointment of an auditor to investigate the diocese’s compliance.