After Archbishop Bernard Hebda was initially appointed apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis in 2015 after the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt following an abuse cover-up scandal. Hebda was later confirmed as the next archbishop, despite being in line to replace Archbishop John Myers in Newark, where he was also serving as coadjutor.
On Monday, Scharfenberger insisted that his stay in Buffalo would be temporary. "Every indication that I have," he said, is that "my tenure in Buffalo is time-limited and that it will be a short time."
Even if only in Buffalo temporarily, Scharfenberger will have to address the impending threat of bankruptcy in the diocese, with a high number of lawsuits related to allegations of sexual abuse filed beginning in August, when a one-year window was openned in the state's staute of limitations.
In August, as the one-year legal window opened in New York for lawsuits over previous cases of sexual abuse, a RICO lawsuit was filed against the diocese alleging "a pattern of racketeering activity" that covered up sexual abuse. The New York's Attorney General is also conducting an investigation into the diocese.
Scharfenberger said Monday that while he did not intend to revisit previous decisions made by the diocesan review board on allegations of determined to be false or lacking in evidence, he would do so if those decisions were manifestly wrong.
The bishop called on abuse victims who think their cases were wrongly decided "to come forward" and have their cases reopened by the diocesan tribunal.
For survivors who want to see documentation as to how their previously claims of abuse were handled by the diocese, Scharfenberger said they "should come forward and we'll do whatever we can to let that person know what they need to know, or want to know," he said.