Fisher will be installed as Buffalo's bishop on Jan. 15, 2021. The oldest of five children, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington in 1990 and has served on the archdiocese's administrative board, clergy personnel board, priest council, and priest retirement board.
He will take over a diocese rocked by recent revelations of clergy sex abuse, allegations of a cover-up and mishandling of abuse by former Bishop Richard Malone and Edward Grosz, a lawsuit by New York state, and ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.
Last week, the office of New York's Attorney General published a 216-page report documenting the years-long failure by the diocese to abide by the standards of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in handling cases of alleged clergy sex abuse of minors.
In December, 2019, Bishop Malone announced that the pope had accepted resignation. That announcement followed an apostolic visitation ordered the Vatican to investigate his handling of clergy sex abuse. Malone's former secretary had leaked audio of the bishop appearing to acknowledge the credibility of claims of sexual harassment and violation of the seal of Confession made against a diocesan priest months before that priest was removed from active ministry.
Malone's former executive assistant also leaked diocesan records in 2018 that appeared to show the diocese working with its lawyers to conceal the names of some diocesan priests with credible claims of sex abuse from the public.
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany was appointed as interim leader of the diocese after Malone's resignation. In January, he told members of the media that he was "not given" the results of the 2019 Vatican-ordered investigation into the diocese. He also said that he "was not sent with a particular mission."