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Press Release

Bishop Michael W. Fisher places retired priest on administrative leave


Buffalo, NY) – The Diocese of Buffalo recently became aware of an action brought pursuant to the Child Victims Act by an individual who alleges that she was abused as a child in the early 1980s at parish of St. Matthew by Rev. Msgr. Leo McCarthy (88), a retired priest of the Diocese of Buffalo, who continues to assist in parish ministry. The complaint was not served on the Diocese but was discovered during a recent search of publicly filed complaints.

Upon learning of the complaint, the Diocese notified the Erie County District Attorney’s office, reached out to the attorney for the plaintiff, and confronted Msgr. McCarthy, who denied committing any acts of abuse.  The Diocese also reported the matter to the Independent Review Board which will be responsible for appointing an independent investigator. 

Because the plaintiff did not file a complaint with the Diocese’s Victim Assistance Coordinator, the Diocese reached out to the plaintiff’s attorney to determine whether the plaintiff is willing to cooperate with an investigation and provide all relevant details related to the allegations. The Diocese’s legal counsel has been advised that the plaintiff is unwilling to cooperate with the investigation.

As a result, Bishop Fisher has decided to place Msgr. McCarthy on administrative leave pending a thorough investigation by the appointed independent investigator and a final determination by the Independent Review Board.  Bishop Fisher wishes to emphasize that the decision to restrict Msgr. McCarthy’s priestly faculties at this time is in no way intended to indicate his guilt or is it a determination about the truth or falsity of the complaints.

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