BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A shredding event scheduled to take place in September 2018 was postponed, and hasn’t happened to date, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Buffalo said.
An internal email sent to diocesan staff in August 2018 and obtained by News 4 on Friday noted there would be a “large shred” the Catholic Center for “confidential items” the following month.
“We are planning on having a ‘Shred-it’ come to our building in mid-September (2018) to do a large secure shred,” the email said.
In 2018, and continuing in 2019, several people came forward to accuse diocesan priests of child sexual abuse.
“It doesn’t describe what documents should be shredded, But with all that’s going on, they should not be shredding anything,” said Kevin Stocker, an attorney who filed one of more than 100 lawsuits against the diocese this week under the Child Victims Act. That’s a state law passed in February which gives victims of child sexual abuse an opportunity to file a civil claim, no matter when the abuse occurred or how old they are now.
Responding to the email, a spokeswoman for the diocese said the shredding event “never occurred”.
Responding to a follow-up question about why the event was postponed, the spokeswoman said, “The shredding was postponed because we wanted to ensure that we were in compliance with all state and federal requests and the (Child Victims Act). We are not planning on doing a shred until all requests are resolved. We would confirm with our attorneys about when we can resume this function.”
It’s unclear how often the diocese previously held shredding events.
“In the past, when shredding has been done, it includes what is common practice in businesses elsewhere,” the spokeswoman said.
Typical items normally shredded include check requests, old credit card information and statements, old resumes, old invoices, bills, receipts, photo IDs, old bank statements, voided checks, employee pay stubs, documents containing sensitive information such as name, address, phone number or email, the spokeswoman said.
“I learned from those that oversee this (shredding) process that nothing has ever been given to them from the Chancery,” she added.
The Chancery includes the bishop’s office.