Lawsuit in Buffalo, NY claims former Erie Bishop Trautman covered up abuse

Local News

A lawsuit in Buffalo, New York says that Erie’s Donald Trautman, the former Auxiliary Bishop of Buffalo, has covered up abuse.

This puts the Diocese of Erie in the middle of the controversy.

Syeda Abbas reports.

In this case, the Diocese of Erie is named as the defendant. The Erie County New York Supreme Court lawsuit claims the abuse occurred in the Diocese of Buffalo in the mid-1980’s and not in the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

However, the Erie Diocese is being named because the suit alleges Trautman continued to cover up abuse allegations while he was a Bishop in Erie.

Bishop Trautman is now 83 and continues to reside in Erie. He was Bishop of Erie from 1990 to 2012.

According to the Buffalo news, an unnamed plaintiff alleged in a lawsuit that a former Buffalo Diocese administrator, who later became Bishop of the Diocese of Erie, fast tracked an annulment in the 1980’s to make sure that a family kept quiet about a priests abuse.

A statement released by the Diocese of Erie says in part:

“Bishop Lawrence Persico has seen a copy of the suit, but the Diocese has not been served, as with any litigation, Bishop Persico will cooperate, but will not comment during the legal process.”

Trautman has an office at the Catholic Diocese of Erie at East Grandview Blvd.

The suit claims the abusive priest was Rev. Gerard A. Smyczynski, who died in 1999.

The Diocese of Erie said that the activities that allegedly took place in the Diocese of Buffalo happened before Bishop Trautman was named as the Bishop of Erie in 1990.

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