Attorney Barry Covert provided comment for an article published in The Buffalo News regarding a recent news conference given by Bishop Richard Malone of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. This is the first press conference Bishop Malone has given since November 2018.
The Buffalo New article states that Bishop Malone faced renewed criticism for his handling of clergy sexual abuse cases in August, when the Child Victim Act’s Look-Back Window took effect. However, this press conference, which took place on September 4th, was held to address reports of how Bishop Malone handled a different matter of clergy misconduct
Earlier in the day, ABC News and WKBW published stories regarding a second whistleblower who came forward due to concerns over Bishop Richard Malone. As detailed in a previous post, the whistleblower is Fr. Ryszard Biernat, who served as Bishop Malone’s secretary and diocesan vice chancellor. Fr. Biernat is represented by attorney Barry Covert.
Fr. Biernat began to record Bishop Malone due to the way he handled allegations made against a parish pastor within the Buffalo Diocese, Fr. Jeffrey Nowak. Fr. Nowak was accused of misconduct and sexual harassment by a seminarian within the Buffalo Diocese, Matthew Bojanowski. Matthew Bojanowski is also represented by Barry Covert.
Matthew Bojanowski made the Diocese of Buffalo aware of Fr. Jeffrey Nowak’s misconduct in November 2018 and January 2019. However, Fr. Nowak remained an active parish pastor until August 2019. Details regarding Matthew Bojanowski’s reporting of misconduct and the Bishop’s handling of the matter can be found in this previous post.
As The Buffalo News reports, Bishop Malone faced renewed calls for his resignation following the release of Fr. Biernat’ recordings by ABC News and WKBW. In his recent news conference, Bishop Malone stated he will not resign and offered explanations for statements heard on the recently released recordings.
Barry Covert provided comment to The Buffalo News in response to Bishop Malone’s news conference. The Buffalo News reports that Mr. Covert stated “the bishop was trying to distract people from the real issue of not removing Nowak in a timely fashion.” Covert continued “Biernat’s tape recordings show that the bishop and other chancery officials knew in March that Nowak had engaged in harassment and other inappropriate behavior. There’s no excuse for waiting until August to put him on leave. That’s the issue here. That’s why my client, Father Biernat, felt compelled to tape Bishop Malone.