Bishop Richard Malone spoke publicly for the first time since a 60 Minutes report that aired on Sunday, October 28th.
Malone spoke to Tom Bauerle and David Bellavia on WBEN radio Friday afternoon. The interview lasted a half hour.
The Bishop discussed Siobhan O’Connor, his former executive assistant who recently came forward as the person who leaked hundreds of documents from Malone’s secret archives.
Malone called O’Connor “a great employee” in the interview. When he asked if his recent statement in response to O’Connor’s press conference could have been more delicate, Malone stated “perhaps it could.”
He also told WBEN that he felt no “retribution” toward O’Connor, who has called on the Bishop to resign for mishandling abuse allegations.
In the 60 Minutes interview, O’Connor stated that she found a binder with pending litigation against the Diocese in a vacuum closet.
Malone told WBEN that the binder was “not ordinarily” in the closet. He said the binder was “ordinarily” locked in a file room. Malone then went on to say that the binder was in a closet in his office and that the closet did contain a vacuum.
Father Robert Zilliox of St. Mary’s of Swormville told 60 Minutes that 8 or 9 priests, whose cases should have been sent to the Vatican for review, remain in the priesthood.
Malone disputed that claim.
“There are not 8-9 priests out there with allegations of abuse of a minor. 60 minutes reported it and it is false. That is why I have asked the people who made those claims, two individuals in particular, to tell us who those priests are. If they are out there and guilty of abuse – I will pull them about,” Malone told WBEN.
The Bishop admitted fault for the way he handled abuse allegations against adults.
“My missteps did not involve allegations with children. My mistakes were when something came in about adults,” Malone told WBEN.
The Bishop admitted specifically to mishandling allegations against Fr. Art Smith and Fr. Robert Yetter.
Smith was accused of inappropriate conduct with a minor via social media. He was later accused of misconduct with adults as a nursing home.
“We had decided with Art Smith because the Facebook incident did not rise to the level of sexual abuse to keep him in some limited ministry,” Malone said.
Malone, who later endorsed Smith to work as a cruise ship Chaplin, told WBEN in hindsight that was a mistake.
“I kick myself for having done that,” Malone told WBEN.
Following Malone’s interview, Fr. Art Smith called into the radio station.
“The mention of my doing inappropriate things at the Brothers of Mercy is an absolute falsification. I am going to prove it. It will be coming out as clear as can be,” he said.
Smith later hung up when pressed about allegations against him.
Malone maintained that he will not resign as Bishop. He did tell WBEN that when he turns 75, he will hand in a resignation letter to the Vatican, per the Code of Canon law. Malone will turn 73 in March.