Buffalo Diocese releases internal emails from Siobhan O’Connor

Local News

Late Tuesday night, the Buffalo Catholic Diocese sent out a statement in response to Siobhan O’Connor’s press conference earlier that day. 

The former executive assistant to Bishop Richard Malone appeared in a 60 Minutes report Sunday about the alleged covering up of abuse in the Buffalo Catholic Church. 

“Unlike my former boss I will take your questions,” O’Connor told reporters Tuesday.

During that press conference, O’Connor expressed her love for the Catholic Diocese and her concern for abuse victims; it was that concern, she said, that urged her to leak hundreds of documents from Malone’s secret archives. 

According to the report on 60 Minutes, Malone attempted to cover-up abuse allegations. 

“I tried to do what I could from the inside and I couldn’t. I knew that this was the way that action would be taken,” O’Connor told reporters Tuesday. 

Later that night, the Buffalo Diocese released a statement saying in part:

“Bishop Malone is stunned and dismayed at the comments of Ms. O’Connor at her press conference today. Her comments directly contradict her comments to him while she worked at the Chancery and even after she left. In fact, her prior, written communications to the Bishop demonstrate her complete admiration for the Bishop and his efforts to lead the Diocese. Her comments now are plainly and embarrassingly contradictory. Here are her actual email communications with the Bishop and others at the Chancery that she now criticizes.”

Included with the statement was a series of internal emails from O’Connor to members of the Diocese, including Bishop Malone. 

The emails include praise of both the Diocese and Malone himself, which the Diocese said contradicts O’Connor’s statements Tuesday. 

O’Connor had this response:

“It is quite distressing to realize that the longest statement Bishop Malone has released so far is comprised of my emails to him and my Catholic Center colleagues. There are many things I could say in response to each specific email he referenced or included, but this isn’t about me. This was never about me. This is about the survivors, our diocese, our community and our Church.

The documents under discussion should not be my emails to Bishop Malone, but rather his letters of good standing for Father Art Smith. We should be talking about his praise and adulation for Father Robert Yetter – not any admiration I may have expressed to Bishop Malone. Instead of cutting and pasting my emails into a statement, the Bishop needs to explain why so many priests’ names were cut from the list of 42. Rather than engaging in these necessary discussions, the Bishop has opted for needless deflection.

On this eve of All Saints, I am praying fervently for Bishop Malone and the diocese I love.”

During Tuesday’s press conference, O’Connor expressed that she cared deeply for the Bishop.

News 4 also obtained internal emails between O’Connor and Diocesan attorneys Terry Connors, Lawlor Quinlan, and Randall White. 

During Tuesday’s press conference, O’Connor said the following when asked how active a role the attorney’s played in the Diocese.

“Well it was so active in fact that I refer to them as Bishop Connors and Most Reverend Quinlan.”

In a farewell email from August, the month O’Connor left her position in the Diocese, she wrote this to the three attorneys: 

“On a personal note, it has been a privilege to work with the three of you over the last three years. It has also been a pleasure… and you can’t always say it has been both! Thank you for always managing to respond to our requests despite what must be a gargantuan workload in your offices. Thank you for your kindness, your positivity and your incredible work ethic.”

O’Connor also said in an email to Lawlor Quinlan that “If I ever write a children’s alphabet book about career options, I will be sure that the “L'”entry talks about Lawlor the Lawyer.”

When asked further about the Diocesan attorneys Tuesday, O’Connor said 

‘I can only say there are good lawyers like the one by my side and there are lawyers who I do not trust. Like Bishop Connors and Most Reverend Quinlan.”

News 4 reached out to O’Connor through her attorney Mitchell Garabedian specifically about the emails with the Diocesan attorneys. We have not heard back. 

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