Part Two: Hiding Abusive Priests and The Case of Fr. Robert Yetter
Here are two recent reports by Channel 7, the ABC affiliate in Buffalo, about the predatory priest cover up. These reports will be the topic of today’s show. The first report explains how the Diocese of Buffalo hid the true number of priests in the diocese that had been credibly accused of abuse, and the second report is the story of Fr. Robert Yetter.
7 I-TEAM: Church records show more than 100 accused priests, not 42 as stated by Bishop Malone
This first report explains how the Diocese of Buffalo hid the true number of priests in the diocese that had been credibly accused of abuse. The diocese only released the names of 42 accused priests, when there were more than 100. Using diocesan records obtained from a source within the diocese, Channel 7 details how the diocese hid the fact that priests who were still in active ministry had been credibly accused of abuse.
7 I-TEAM: Buffalo Bishop Malone allowed Amherst priest to remain pastor despite abuse allegations
This second report is the story of Fr. Robert Yetter, formerly pastor at St. Mary’s in Swormville. Fr. Yetter made inappropriate sexual advances to young men, offered alcohol to young men who were under 21, and repeatedly contacted those young men by text message and cell phone. He was allowed to remain as pastor after his behavior was made known to the diocese.
|2009||Fr. Yetter invited a young man who was under 21 years old to the rectory. He served the young man alcohol. After the young man was drunk, Fr. Yetter attempted to unzip the young man’s pants. The young man was startled and left the rectory.
After this incident, Fr. Yetter repeatedly called the young man on his cell phone.
|2013||Fr. Yetter invited a young man, Kyle, to a movie and dinner. During the movie, Fr. Yetter placed his hand on the young man’s inner thigh and left it there for 45 seconds or a minute.
Fr. Yetter kissed the same young man on the neck.
|April 2017||Bishop Grosz meets with Kyle and Fr. Yetter separately about the incident in the movie theatre in 2013. He teaches Fr. Yetter about sexual harassment, and suggests he go for counseling.
Fr. Yetter admits the accusations are true.
|August 2017||The Diocese receives a complaint from a young man who said that in 2007 Fr. Yetter took him to the Seneca Niagara Casino for dinner. Fr. Yetter invited this individual to a hotel room, where he supposedly touched the individual’s crotch and kissed him on the neck.
Fr. Yetter later texted this young man telling him, “I missed seeing you.”
|September 2017||Fr. Yetter sends a letter Bishop Malone proposing a mission trip to Haiti as penance for his above actions.
In the same letter Fr. Yetter suggests that his removal as pastor at St. Mary’s in Swormville would lead to a decline in collections.
|January 2018||Bishop Malone praises Fr. Yetter’s “years of faithful and effective ministry.”|
|August 2018||Fr. Yetter resigns as pastor of St. Mary’s in Swormville.|