Buffalo, NY—With his so called, early retirement, stemming from his mishandling diocesan sexual abuse cases, newly minted, “Buffalo Bishop Emeritus,” Richard J. Malone joined former President Richard Nixon, a burned out Ford Pinto and Joey from Marilla Street, on “Cover Up Island.” While “Cover Up Island” has no physical location, it is a place known to all where greed, hubris, arrogance and stupidity reign supreme. In most cases, by simply acknowledging wrongdoing and humbly requesting forgiveness, those exiled to “Cover Up Island” could have avoided a lifetime of torment, shame and diminished reputation.
On June 23, 1972, several days after five men were caught attempting to bug the Democratic National Committee’s offices in the Watergate office complex in Washington DC, a conversation between President Richard Nixon and chief of staff, H.R Halderman took place from 10:04-11:39am. In that conversation Halderman informed Nixon of the break-in. After exploring their options, Nixon instructed Halderman to have CIA obstruct the FBI investigation of the break-in, rather than getting out ahead of it and proclaim zero-knowledge of any criminal activity, which was true.
This act of hubris led to two years of congressional investigations and legal wrangling. In the end, Nixon sealed his own fate by not coming clean, just like Bishop Malone, who would never admit the depth and scope of abuse by diocesan priests.
On August 5, 1974 the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to release the tapes, where President instructs Halderman to obstruct the FBI investigation. Several days later Nixon was forced to resign. Had Nixon stood forthrightly before public and explained what had happened with the break-in and let the FBI investigation proceed he could have continued to have the Presidential joy of bombing Vietnam, hassling kids who wanted to smoke marijuana and do other dumb stuff like make Elvis Presley a drug enforcement agent (Elvis died in 1977 due to long term drug abuse), rather than spending the remainder of his days, disgraced on “Cover Up Island.”
And the same is true with Malone. He could still be sitting on his velvet throne making people feel bad for having lustful thoughts about smart-mouthed waitresses at the Wayside or the UPS guy who drops Amazon packages on your porch—if he would have stepped up and done the right thing.
In the late 1960’s the Ford motor company, under the direction of Lee Iacocca, fast tracked the production of the Pinto in an effort to compete with the foreign imports, who were gaining ground in the subcompact market. Iacocca’s production push, seemed to work—at first. The Pinto sold really well during the early 70’s. But then, they started to blow up when involved in a rear-end crashes. Engineers, during the development process discovered a design flaw where the fuel tank’s filler neck had a tendency to tear away and spill gas on the ground. The gas tank was also easily punctured by bolts protruding from the differential and nearby brackets. But instead of paying an additional $11 per car to fix these flaws, Ford executives, did a secret cost analysis, which was unearthed by Mother Jones reporter, Mark Dowie, and decided it was more cost effective to pay off burn victims than the $70 million to make the car safe. Well, nearly five-hundred deaths later and untold millions beyond the original $70 million, paid out in damages, the burnt out Ford Pinto is yet another victim of “Cover Up Island.”
And, again, the same is true for Malone, other Buffalo Bishops and a succession of Popes in Rome. They did a cost analysis and instead of helping victims of sexual abuse by priests, they chose to hide misconduct, disparage victims and gripped the money you gave them as if it were heaven sent. As a result, they now find themselves, both morally and economically bankrupt on “Cover Up Island.”
Then, maybe the saddest cover-up of all, Joey from Marilla Street. In 1977, Joey was finishing up the ninth grade and despite having an awkwardly shaped head, he somehow caught the eye of the hottest girl in the freshman class—the hard and sassy, Leeza Riptide. Walking home on the last day of school, Joey called up all his courage, and asked her if she wanted to stop by his house, as his parents would be at work till 6pm. He couldn’t believe it when she turned down Marilla with him and was even more amazed when they made out all afternoon.
All the making out left Joey with a giant hickey on his neck below his left ear. Before walking her home Leeza showed Joey how to use his mom’s cover-up to hide the hickey. He got away with it that first night, but the next morning, after phoning all his friends to tell them what had happened, he did a shitty job with the cover up. When his parents called him on it, he tried some lame excuse about getting hit with a baseball rather than coming clean about what had transpired with Leeza. He already had gotten caught in several lies that spring—he had no idea how the marijuana pipe ended up in his backpack and he also had no idea who might have watered down their 1.75 bottle of Jim Beam. Seeing a trend, Joey’s parents grounded him for two-weeks.
Had Joey fessed up to his parents, most likely he wouldn’t have been grounded. Instead, because he chose to hide and claim ignorance, he was punished for his literal cover up. And, when his two-weeks were up, with scant markings remaining on his neck, none of his friends believed it was was a hickey and they certainly didn’t believe, whatever it was, that it came from the hot and sassy Leeza Riptide. For her part, Leeza, who had endless options, moved on in the two intervening weeks to Bobby Walters from Cantwell Street. She just rolled her eyes when Joey tried to say hello to her.
All these years later, as an exile on “Cover Up Island” Joey still sees Leeza in dreams and sometimes wakes with a head full of regret for not being honest with his parents.
Aides to Bishop Malone say he has remained quiet and contemplative in his new life as Buffalo Bishop Emeritus. They also mentioned they often hear him calling out the names Michael Whalen, Charlie, Siobhan and Faluszczak as he fitfully sleeps.