BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) Attorney Steve Boyd represents hundreds with claims against the Buffalo and Rochester Diocese. He says Bishop Richard Malone stepping down is finally some measure of justice for his clients.
“It’s a new day for the Diocese of Buffalo. The Bishop says retirement, the Vatican says resignation…it’s pretty clear they’re having a hard time getting their story straight,” said attorney Steve Boyd. “But no matter what, the need in the Diocese of Buffalo was for Bishop Malone to go. He lost his flock.”
“He (Malone) couldn’t be the one to take this Diocese to a new place, of honesty and transparency,” said Boyd.
Transparency is something alleged child sex abuse victim, Gary Astridge says the Diocese has been lacking for decades. He says he was just 7-years-old when Father Edward Townsend began abusing him.
“It started with fondling at an early age and it went from episodes in the school in his car,” said Astridge. “It just got worse involving rapes and things and it didn’t end until my parents moved from Buffalo to the suburbs.”
Astirdge and Boyd agree the resignation is a step toward trying to right the ship, but more needs to be done in this next regime.
“When survivors were kids they had no voice. and in the last couple of years with the Child Victim’s Act they’ve had a voice,” said Boyd. “The Diocese needs to acknowledge that voice, in a truthful way.”
Astridge has been one of the most outspoken members of this movement for change. “I just feel things happen for a reason and how do I turn something positive and this is my way of trying to do that,” he said.
He hopes Malone stepping down will help other abuse victims come forward. And that just like him, speaking out will help them begin the healing process.
“It’s therapy really because that little boy who was so quiet and never said anything, I can speak up for him,” said Astridge.
Since that look back window opened under the Child Victim’s Act, the Buffalo Diocese has been named in hundreds of lawsuits. Attorney Boyd says more people come forward each day and he hopes they’ll continue to.