BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Edward Scharfenberger, the Albany bishop and temporary head of the Diocese of Buffalo, affirmed Monday he is willing to share files on abusive clergy members with victims and law enforcement.
Sitting down for a one-on-one interview with News 4, Scharfenberger said he has already been in touch with prosecutors in Western New York “to discuss several things”.
“I want the district attorney to know that I am concerned about the integrity of the files and their content,” Scharfenberger said.
Scharfenberger, the Bishop of Albany, has now been apostolic administrator in the Diocese of Buffalo for more than a month, since the resignation of former Bishop Richard Malone on December 4th.
“In the Diocese of Albany, one of the things I did was to invite the district attorney to take a look at the files, to supervise them,” he said. “The conversations I would be having with the district attorney would involve that.
“Every file that involves clergy personnel is now accessible to the Attorney General of New York State, who is in a position to be able to review those files and hopefully if there is anything in them that contain any questionable or criminal elements, that will surface because I want to know about that too.”
Scharfenberger said he is willing to make those same files available to Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.
Advocates of survivors of clergy sex abuse claim that publicly releasing personnel files on priests would reveal the full scope of a “cover up” of the clergy sex abuse scandal. Scharfenberger said he’s called for the formation of a task force to advise him on the keeping of archives and the disclosure of files.
“A survivor of sexual abuse that would like to pursue a cause either in civil law or canon law will have access to whatever information they need in order to pursue their cases,” Scharfenberger said, adding that could include clergy files. “It’s a matter of transparency and the ability of a person to be able to seek restorative justice.
“Criminality has no right to secrecy.”
Watch the full interview with Scharfenberger below: