The Buffalo News Reports on Steps Lipsitz Green is Taking to Move Child Victims Act Lawsuits Forward for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse

The Buffalo News recently published an article as part of their ongoing coverage of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and New York State’s Child Victims Act (CVA).

The article included a report on steps Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria is taking in state court to move Child Victims Act lawsuits forward on behalf of clients whose abuse was perpetrated by someone associated with an entity within the Buffalo Diocese. Attorney Richard P. Weisbeck, Jr., who represents many survivors of childhood sexual abuse, was quoted by The Buffalo News for the report.

Justice Against Negligent Institutions

New York State’s Child Victims Act empowers survivors of childhood sexual abuse to pursue justice against perpetrators of abuse as well as institutions whose negligence allowed the abuse to transpire. The CVA provides victims of childhood sexual abuse with the right to hold any public or private institution accountable that concealed abuse or was responsible in any other way for allowing abuse to occur.

These institutions include the catholic church, public schools, private schools, day care centers, public childcare facilities, boy scouts, athletic clubs, sports leagues, foster care, and others.

Buffalo Diocese Bankruptcy

Under the Child Victims Act’s “look-back window,” adults of any age who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse can pursue civil litigation against their abuser and negligent institutions. After years of obstacles, many victims have been able to shine a spotlight on abusers and institutions whose negligence allowed the abuse to occur.

As reported in local and national media, efforts around the Child Victims Act have uncovered an ongoing crisis of clergy sexual abuse within the Buffalo Diocese that dates back decades. Many victims have filed a CVA lawsuit against catholic priests and the Buffalo Diocese.

In February 2020, the Buffalo Diocese filed Chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. CVA lawsuits against the Buffalo Diocese are currently unable to move forward as the diocese restructures after its bankruptcy filing.

Parishes and Schools Separate From Diocese

Individual parishes, schools, and human service agencies within the Buffalo Diocese are separately incorporated. Therefore, these individual entities were not included in the Buffalo Diocese’s Chapter 11 filing and are not included in the bankruptcy protections the diocese has been granted.

The Buffalo News reports that more than 400 parishes, schools, and other entities have been named as defendants in Child Victims Act lawsuits. Attorney Richard P. Weisbeck, Jr. was quoted in The Buffalo News story, stating “There’s probably many instances where the local parish has culpability and not necessarily the diocese in every single case.” Mr. Weisbeck went on to say “There can be separate negligent conduct between the diocese and the local parishes based on their actions or inactions.”

State courts have recently reopened after the shutdown due to the coronavirus. The Buffalo News reports that Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria recently began severing claims in state courts against the diocese. In regards to Lipsitz Green’s action in state court, The Buffalo News states “That move will allow it to proceed with claims against other non-bankrupt defendants.”

The Buffalo News also reports that the Buffalo Diocese is asking U.S. Bankruptcy Court to extend bankruptcy protections to the separate entities named as defendants in Child Victims Act lawsuits. U.S. Bankruptcy Court has not yet made a decision on this request.

For More Information

For more information on the legal rights of survivors of childhood sexual abuse and the Child Victims Act, visit Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Sexual Abuse Victims page. For answers to additional questions or for a free confidential case review, contact attorney Richard P. Weisbeck, Jr. at 716-849-1333, ext. 348 or via e-mail at