Bishop Richard Malone broke his silence Wednesday after months of intense scrutiny over his handling of the clergy sex abuse crisis.
The news conference came hours after Malone confirmed audio recordings obtained by WKBW of him speaking with his longtime priest secretary Father Ryszard Biernat.
Malone outlined what appears to be some sort of romantic relationship between Biernat and a former seminarian who at the time was still deciding whether or not to enter the priesthood.
This also ties in to allegations of sexual harassment against Father Jeff Nowak while he was at Christ the King Seminary. According to Malone, Nowak wasn’t happy about the relationship between Biernat and the former seminarian.
Malone said Nowak also obtained access to what was described as a possible love letter from Father Biernat to the former seminarian. Malone says Nowak stole the letter when he went to visit the seminarian in Boston several years ago.
On the tape, Malone expressed concern about Nowak’s mental state and advised him on three separate occasions to get help, but he refused.
Nowak was then removed from ministry at our Lady of Help Christians in Cheektowaga last week.
Despite all this, Malone says he’s not resigning and feels he has the support of a majority of the Catholic faithful.
“I’m not a masochist. You know what I mean. I’m not a person that stays in something because I enjoy pain. I’m here because I feel an obligation as the one who was sent here to lead this Diocese to carry on,” he said.
“They’re going to say what they want to say to cover their butts. Deep down they know what they did. They know what’s going on. That’s why they’re putting on this big tough guy act,” said protester Anthony Ravarini.
Biernat is now the second whistleblower in Malone’s inner circle following Siobhan O’Connor, who came forward last year.