Fr. Norbert Orsolits, who admitted sexually abusing minors, has died

Fr. Norbert Orsolits, the priest who may have sparked the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, has died.

Orsolits, of Springville, died March 25 at age 81 reportedly at the Buffalo Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. W.S. Davis Funeral Home in Arcade announced no calling hours and a private service for family.

Fr. Norbert Orsolits died March 25 at age 81.
Credit Horowitz Law

Ordained in 1965, Orsolits began ministering in Bliss, NY and frequently moved among parishes every 1-4 years throughout his career.

Accused of child molestation in at least 16 Child Victims Act lawsuits, Orsolits admitted to the Buffalo News that he had sexually abused several boys.

Among his accusers is Michael Whalen, whose revelation of sexual abuse as a minor unleashed what former Buffalo Catholic Diocese Bishop Richard Malone called a "tsunami" of similar complaints.

"When I was telling my story, he also admitted to abusing to a couple of dozen boys that same day," Whalen said at an early protest in support of clergy abuse victims, "and almost word for word of what I was saying, he was saying. It just validated my story."

The Buffalo Catholic Diocese now faces 260 Child Victims Act lawsuits and has since filed for bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Court has set Aug. 14 as the deadline to file proofs of claim against the diocese.