The new policies come as the Diocese of Buffalo continues to be embroiled in controversy over sexual abuse allegations, including claims that Malone failed to act on accusations that had been brought to his attention.
At least two whistleblowers with high-level access in the diocese - Malone's former executive assistant and former priest secretary - have gone public with accusations that Malone mishandled several cases of sexual abuse by priests in the diocese, some of which involved minors.
One such case involves a priest accused of sending inappropriate Facebook messages to a minor. Malone reinstated the priest, Father Art Smith, to ministry in 2012 and allowed him not only to work at a diocesan Catholic youth conference, but also to minister at a nursing home, where reports of inappropriate conduct with adults later surfaced.
Smith is currently listed on the diocesan page for clergy with substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor. He denies the allegations.
In Sept. 2019, local news station WKBW released recordings of private conversations between Bishop Malone and Fr. Ryszard Biernat, Malone's former priest secretary, which appear to show that Malone believed sexual harassment accusations made against a diocesan priest months before the diocese removed the priest from ministry.
Biernat recorded the conversations as the bishop discussed how to deal with accusations against Fr. Nowak by then-seminarian Bojanowski, who in a January letter to Malone accused Nowak of grooming him, sexually harassing him, and violating the Seal of the Confessional.
In an Aug. 2 conversation, Malone can reportedly be heard saying, "We are in a true crisis situation. True crisis. And everyone in the office is convinced this could be the end for me as bishop."
In another, earlier conversation from March, Bishop Malone seems to acknowledge the legitimacy of Bojanowski's accusation against Nowak months before the diocese removed Nowak from active ministry.
WKBW published a report about allegations against Nowak in May. Nowak was not removed from ministry until Aug. 7.
The diocese has responded to various allegations of mishandling abuse cases by Malone, stating in August that "Bishop Malone has never allowed any priest with a credible allegation of abusing a minor to remain in ministry."
A poll commissioned earlier this month by The Buffalo News found that 86% of current or lapsed Catholics believe Malone should resign. The bishop insists that he will not step down.
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