Below are media reports detailing the diocesan coverup of a priest’s alleged sexual assault upon Rev. Ryszard Biernat when he was a seminarian in 2003.
Fast forward to 2019…For daring to disrupt the predatory culture of the Diocese of Buffalo by whistleblowing to the media, Fr. Ryszard was removed from ministry by his bishop, a vindictive move upheld by his successor, Bishop Michael Fisher.
Not permitted (or even encouraged) by diocesan officials (Aux. Bishop Grosz and Monsignors Cunningham and LiPuma) to report the sexual assault1,Fr. Ryszard says he was additionally threatened into silence by Auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz (an allegation which Grosz denies that is supposed to be investigated under Pope Francis’ motu proprio, Vos estis lux mundi, and has yet to be investigated.)
- The alleged offending priest, Fr. Art Smith, never suffered consequences for this alleged crime either.
- This case never went before the diocesan attorneys.
- This case never went before the Diocesan Review Board.
Fast forward to 2013, Fr. Ryszard is appointed as secretary to Bishop Richard Malone and vice chancellor of the diocese, an appointment in which he thought he could be of help to abuse victims and play a role in helping to weed out corruption. Instead, he found himself working in a system flagrantly covering up clergy sexual abuse that was not going to change under that bishop. And so he started making secret audio recordings…something he said he regretted he did not do when Bishop Grosz threatened him.
Fr. Ryszard Biernat’s interview with Charlie Spect from WKBW-TV
March 4, 2020
Discussion on Bishop Scharfenberger’s reluctance to re-instate Fr. Ryszard into ministry following what was an obvious retaliatory move by the former bishop to remove him from ministry with use of a canonical “Penal Remedy.” The reason for the removal from ministry? Because he revealed secrets. Fr. Ryszard states: “In the decree, they cite policies of secrecy, but isn’t that what led us into the trouble that we are in right now?” Biernat said, “Secrecy…that we kept things secret and that everything is OK as long as people don’t find out.”
Fr. Ryszard Biernat’s full interview with Steve Brown from WGRZ-TV
September 6, 2019
Graphic details of abuse by priest when Biernat was a seminarian
Bishop Silenced Fr. Ryszard about alleged sexual assault
WKBW, Charlie Spect – September 5, 2019
First news interview concerning this case
As a radio host talked with WKBW investigative reporter, Charlie Specht, Fr. Ryszard Biernat called in to clarify his story and answer questions.
September 10, 2019
audio: 17 minutes
ABC News report
September 4, 2019
“I am here to serve the people of Western New York the way I can,” said Biernat, who agreed to take a leave of absence from the diocese in August and has until recently lived in the bishop’s official residence. “I feel I have a responsibility to come forward and ask Bishop Malone to please resign. For the love of God and for the sake of your people here, please resign.”
Who is Father Ryszard Biernat, and why would he secretly record Bishop Malone?
Buffalo News By Published |Updated text/photo
Buffalo bishops silenced Fr. Ryszard about alleged sex assault
WKBW Charlie Spect, September 05, 2019
Discloses sexual assault for the first time
Bishop’s Council of the Laity was informed
At the Persecuted Priests Summit in June, 2021, Fr. Ryszard joined eight other Roman Catholic priests who have been sidelined by their bishops for speaking out against corruption in the Church/their dioceses and/or bishops’ abuse of power. Amidst this discussion, Fr. Ryszard revealed what the trauma did to him as a human being suffering from the bishops’ abuse of power, particularly as a seminarian.
Video 1 hr 20 min
Here is a portion of his testimony that speaks to the heart of his concerns: “If you try to disrupt this predatory culture, of course they’re going to get rid of you.”
The Angry Catholic podcast
“Not on my watch!” Episode 108
Fr. Ryszard Biernat is guest of this popular podcast devoted to laity’s response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. In this discussion, he details not only the abuse he suffered as a seminarian, but the trials working in a corrupt system of complicity with clergy sexual abusers led by our bishops.
6 March 2021
The Angry Catholic podcasts can be accessed on iTunes podcasts, Spotify, and their website TheAngryCatholic.com
Various reports on him
Exclusive WKBW report on the announcement of the recordings Fr. Ryszard took
WKBW – Charlie Spect
September 4, 2019
Spectrum News’ series of interviews with Rev. Art Smith in which Smith artfully denies the allegations. These videos speak for themselves.
Fr. Art Smith’s interview with Spectrum News – background to abuse claims
BY MARK GOSHGARIAN CITY OF BUFFALO
UPDATED 8:27 PM ET SEP. 12, 2019
Amidst background to abuse claims, Smith artfully denies allegations.
Spectrum News’ extensive interview with Art Smith Part I
BY MARK GOSHGARIAN BUFFALO
UPDATED 9:24 PM ET SEP. 13, 2019
An alleged victim (his nephew) is also interviewed. “I Believe, in the depths of my being, that I have been accused falsely,” says Smith. Like ex-Cardinal McCarrick, he chooses his words carefully. In fact, the two interviews (McCarrick’s and Smith’s) are strikingly similar.
By Mark Goshgarin
8:21PM ET September 16, 2019
In this interview, Smith expresses breathless gratitude to Bishop Malone for re-instating him back in ministry after Bishop Kmiec finally removed him from ministry a full seven years after the 2004 alleged molestation of the seminarian and only upon evidence that he groomed an 8th grader. “He gave me my life back,” Smith said, without being challenged by the interviewer with the fact (via Malone’s testimony to the Vatican) that Smith went on to sexually harass two young men in his very first assignment by Malone.
Two other alleged victims of Smith’s abuse were also interviewed in this report including Smith’s own nephew and Fr. Ryszard. Both men were pressed in the interview to go into graphic details of their alleged assaults. Palpable to anyone with a pulse is the grueling humiliation envisaged on the faces of these grown men torn to pieces by a corrupt team assembled through time to suppress their due justice and block the path in their journey to regain their human dignity.
More casualties of the diocesan war to keep up appearances.
Fr Ryszard’s initial confirmation of abuse to congregation
Buffalo News Published |
The 2016 Letter in question which Fr. Ryszard wrote to his friend who had entered the seminary is addressed by Fr. Ryszard in his various interviews. This question/answer on WBEN with Charlie Specht’s commentary helps shed enormous light on the subject. The interview is located at the timeline mark 22:10 in this linked audio recording. It is this friend who was the seminarian alleged to have been harassed by a diocesan priest that sparked Fr. Ryszard’s advocacy on his behalf. Because Bishop Malone refused to take action on this priest’s alleged activity and because abuse of the seal of the confessional was also alleged, Fr. Ryszard decided to make audio recordings so that laity could hear their bishop failing to respond to a case of a credibly-accused sexual predator priest.
Siobhan O’Connor has also written about the nature of the contents of this Letter.
LifeSite News published a comprehensive examination of the subject.
The Buffalo News published details of Fr.Ryszard’s lengthy interview with them and addressed this issue in context.
Photos with this friend that appeared on the internet are from a Holy Land pilgrimage in which Dead Sea swimmers commonly take selfies. So, photos and the letter are waved around as proof of grave, immoral, activity—which Father Biernat flatly denies. Those baseless allegations were never mentioned in Bishop Richard Malone’s document removing Father Biernat from ministry. There’s a reason. As Pope Francis said of a French archbishop’s case fraught with gossip but no facts, “If we don’t know the accusation, we cannot condemn.”
Here are the Letters that count in our deliberations. They reflect not only legal crimes but true moral depravity among clergy/bishop in our diocese.