Another survivor of alleged clergy sexual abuse has come forward, with more than just a civil lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo.
For alleged abuse survivor Wayne Bortle, the details of the case date back to 1979. And while the accused priest has since died, the church hall which bears his name has become a constant reminder of the past, some 40 years later.
Bortle and famed Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian outlined the recently filed suit Thursday outside the Catholic Center on Main Street in Buffalo.
Bortle has accused the late Father Robert Conlin from then-St. Mary’s Catholic Church Society in Pavilion of clergy sexual abuse. The Niagara County church is now known as Mary Immaculate Roman Catholic Parish.
Bortle says he was 15 when Father Conlin would invite him and others to the rectory to hang out and play tabletop games. He says that’s when Father Conlin had sexual contact with him. Conlin died in 1997.
Add that to Bortle’s request to have Conlin Hall renamed — a request he made again after seeing it mentioned in recent church bulletin.
Bortle and his attorney say just seeing the name in print and on the hall is insensitive, brings back painful memories and sends a negative message to others.
Garabedian says it’s now up to the church and Diocese to respond to the complaint.
The Diocese did not immediately return a request for comment.