The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks recently fired upper management officials for improperly handling a rookie hockey player’s report of sexual assault by a coach 11 years ago. This man’s heartbreaking story is no different from Rev. Ryszard Biernat’s in the Diocese of Buffalo, where STILL no official has been held accountable for ignoring his 2004 report of sexual assault by a priest. In the videos below, watch Kyle Beach’s testimony and then watch Father Ryszard tell his story. NO DIFFERENCE except for the fact that no official in Father Ryszard’s case is held accountable.
WARNING: Graphic details that could be triggering for some readers.
Kyle Beach details his sexual assault as a rookie player several years ago at the hands of an NHL coach. He reported the assault to Chicago Blackhawks officials who essentially blew off his report. Fast-forward to 2021: two Blackhawks officials who botched handling this report of sexual assault are FIRED.
Rev. Ryszard Biernat details his sexual assault as a seminarian at the hands of a diocesan priest. In 2004 he reported the assault to Diocese of Buffalo officials who ignored his report. Fast-forward to 2021: NO officials who botched handling this report of sexual assault are held accountable on any level.
In both cases, qualified independent third parties (examining Blackhawks and Diocese of Buffalo) found that the sexual assault reports by these vulnerable young adults were grossly mishandled by officials in their respective organizations. The New York State Attorney General described with documentation how specifically named diocesan officials–Bishops Grosz, Kmiec, Cunningham, Malone and Msgr. LiPuma–grossly mishandled Biernat’s report since 2004. [see pages 172-176 of the AG lawsuit]
In the aftermath of the independent reviews, once again, laypeople (in this case, NHL officials) have to own up to their dereliction of duty while on the job, but clergy do not.
This. Is. Clericalism. (a pernicious form of elitism and entitlement enjoyed by certain clergy)
Bishop Michael Fisher maintains this particular expression of clericalism by refusing to hold present and past officials accountable for gross mishandling of clergy sexual abuse reports.
Note to Bishop Mike: Clergy are not ABOVE the law or professional accountability. God does not hold them to a different set of moral and professional standards. Neither do we laity. The hockey player and your priest who was abused as a seminarian have both stated that it makes them “sick” that others were subsequently sexually abused by their perpetrators because of the inaction on the part of officials who should have handled their reports responsibly. It makes we laity SICK too.
Stop clericalism. Hold past and present diocesan officials accountable for hurting the flock and betraying victims.
Stop punishing Father Ryszard for exposing this evil.