Another victim claims sexual abuse by a Catholic priest

Mar 23, 2018

On the same day the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo issued an apology to victims of sexual abuse, another victim has come forward. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley has the story.

“And then one night he asked me to come over and watch t.v.,” said a tearful Wayne Bortle.

Former Western New Yorker Wayne Bortle appeared on Main Street Friday morning across from the Catholic Diocese offices in downtown Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Former Western New Yorker Wayne Bortle could not hold back his emotions as he described being sexually abused by Father Robert Conlin at St. Mary's Parish in Pavilion around 1980  when he was 15-years-old, nealry 40-years ago.

“That night, when I came home and I told my mother, and I’m crying in my bed, she asked me what was wrong – what happened, and I said Father Conlin was touching me and she said what do you mean – and I said mom he was touching me everywhere and he wouldn’t stop,” recalled Bortle.

Father Conlin is deceased, but is not on the list of more than 40-other priests issued by the Diocese. The Diocese said the list included deceased priest that have more than one allegation made against them.

Bortles said this is the first time he has come forward and is being represented by attorney Mitchell Garabedian from the Boston-area.  Bortles now lives in New Hampshire. 

Friday morning, the Diocese issued an apology in a video recording of Bishop Richard Malone.

“I’m profoundly sorry for the tremendous pain this has caused you,” stated Malone. “Nothing I could say to you could heal all of the hurt of this catastrophic breach of trust. As bishop of the diocese, I apologize to you. I ask you to come forward to law enforcement and to the diocese so that we can help you.”

WBFO asked Bortle if he accepts the Bishop’s apology.

“I don’t know his apology would impact me. I think the sentiment is nice, but there’s more, obviously that needs to be done," Bortle responded. "I think what I want is speed – more people to come out – to get this burden off. What I want from the church is just to move it along – do what’s right – help the people that were abused.” 

Former Western New Yorker Wayne Bortle appeared on Main Street Friday morning across from the Catholic Diocese offices in downtown Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Bortle and the Road to Recovery organization say they want the Bishop to remove Father Conlin's name and photo from St. Mary's parish hall.   

“We’d like that name removed immediately, as well as the large photo of this priest who adorns that building.  The last thing the people in Pavilion need is to see the face and name of a pedophile priest among them,” declared Robert Hoaston with the Road to Recovery.