VATICAN CITY (AP) — The bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Buffalo has resigned following widespread criticism over how he handled allegations of clergy sexual misconduct.
Pope Francis on Wednesday accepted Bishop Richard Malone’s resignation and named the bishop of Albany, New York, Edward Scharfenberger, to run the Buffalo diocese temporarily until a permanent replacement is found.
The Vatican didn’t say why Malone was resigning two years before the mandatory retirement age of 75. However, the Vatican conducted a recent investigation into the western New York diocese and Malone’s handling of abuse cases.
The diocese has been named in more than 220 recent lawsuits by people who claim they were sexually abused by priests. Many of the claims date back decades, but critics say there have been more recent missteps by Malone.