A local priest accused of abuse was reinstated after the Diocese of Buffalo said the allegations against him were not substantiated by an investigation.
Father Dennis Riter of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk will be returning to active ministry following the decision.
The diocese’s investigation substantiated claims of abuse against three other local priests, who will remain on administrative leave until the Vatican makes a decision.
On Thursday, it was also revealed that four other priests have been put on administrative leave pending investigations into complaints of abuse against them.
Lawyers representing the alleged victims say the decision to allow Riter to return to active ministry is a “startling and dangerous decision.”
“As long as the Diocese of Buffalo continues to expose Fr. Riter to children, this survivor will continue seek accountability and safety,” said Mike Reck, an attorney for Matt Golden. “The actions of the Diocese of Buffalo yesterday reached a new level of callousness and carelessness. Our firm represents the brave survivor who reported Fr. Riter’s abuse months ago. This survivor, Matt Golden, did so with the sole motivation of protecting other children from the trauma he suffered.”
Attorneys claim that Riter sexually abused at least three boys while he was a priest at a Buffalo church in the 1990s.
It’s not clear as to why investigators couldn’t substantiate the allegations.
Attorney Jeff Anderson said that the diocese has not provided any meaningful information regarding the results of the investigation.