Fr. Dennis Riter – Diocese of Buffalo

| Nov 7, 2019 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Dennis Riter

Diocese of Buffalo

Ordained: 1971

Suspended: 2018

Assigned as Follows:

  • 1971-1977:     Church of Assumption (Lackawanna, NY)
  • 1977-1981:     St. Aloysius (Springville, NY)
  • 1981-1984:     St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Dunkirk, NY)
  • 1981-1984:     Chaplain at Brooks Memorial Hospital (Dunkirk, NY)
  • 1982-1988:     Diocesan Spanish Apostolate (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1984-1986:     St. Brigid (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1986-1988:     St. Columba (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1988-1994:     Queen of All Saints (Lackawanna, NY)
  • 1994-2001:     Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1994-2001:    St. Valentine (Buffalo, NY)
  • 2001-2002:    Not indexed
  • 2002-2008:    St. Mary’s (Batavia, NY)
  • 2006-2008:    Diocesan Council of Priests (Buffalo, NY)
  • 2008-2016:    Diocsean Vicars (Buffalo, NY)
  • 2008-2018:    St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Dunkirk, NY)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations againt Father Dennis Riter:

According to media reports, in late March 2018, Father Dennis Riter was placed on administrative leave after allegations surfaced that he had sexual abused two altar boys at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Buffalo, New York. One of the victims stated that he was just 10 to 13-years-old when the abuse happened, and he had also witnessed the abuse of the other altar boy, who has since died.

The alleged victim claimed that Father Riter would invite them to play games in the rectory after mass and that is where the abuse mainly occurred. He had disclosed the incidents with his aunt in 2007, and the other boy’s mother said that her son told her in 1997 that Father Riter tried to “play with him” underneath his robe on the altar during mass. She reported the abuse to a cousin who worked for the Diocese of Buffalo at the time, and was told they would “look into it.”  In 2018, her cousin claimed that she did not recall having the conversation and knew nothing about the abuse.

According to media reports, in June of 2018, the Diocese said that the claims were unsubstantiated and Father Riter was reinstated to his ministry. His name was not included on the the Diocese of Buffalo’s list of credibly accused priests released in March 2018.

A third alleged victim was discovered by a news outlet as of May 2018 as well. A former seminarian said that in 1992 he walked in Father Riter sexually abusing a 6-year-old boy.  The former seminarian says he told both Bishops Head and Grosz in a letter about what he had seen. He said their responses came months later and the answer was to keep it quiet.

As of July 2019, at least one lawsuit has officially been filed against Father Riter under the Child Victims Act in New York.

Father Riter died in February 2020.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo and throughout New York. The Diocese of Buffalo filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Buffalo may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply. Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo will never be able to take action against the Diocese of Buffalo if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your legal options today.