Bishop acknowledges child predators were sent for ‘treatment’
Albany Times Union
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany engaged in a decades-long cover-up of chronic child sexual abuse committed by its priests by employing practices described in a recent statement from former Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, who ran the diocese from 1977 to 2014.
Hubbard’s statement, issued through his attorney in response to a series of questions from the Times Union, confirmed that the diocese shielded priests and others facing sexual abuse allegations — sending them into private treatment programs rather than contacting law enforcement officials or alerting parishioners. Some of those priests allegedly emerged from treatment and committed more crimes.
Hubbard's response comes as he is facing multiple allegations of sexually abusing a minor, and is named in dozens of additional court cases in which he stands accused of covering up abuse by others. After this story was published online, his attorney sent an email disputing that the practices described in the bishop's statement amounted to a cover-up.
Michael Harmon, who is suing the diocese, says he was abused in the 1980s by Pratt, who was vice chancellor of the diocese, often inside the chancery in a room across the hall from where Hubbard lived.
Harmon said that while Hubbard never abused him, the bishop was aware that the boy would spend multiple nights each week in Pratt’s bedroom at the chancery.
After years of alleged abuse, on a day when Pratt was downstairs in the chancery, Harmon said he told Hubbard what had been happening and asked for his help. In response, he said, Hubbard told him to leave the chancery immediately and never tell anyone what he had just said or that he would be arrested. Hubbard categorically denies Harmon’s allegations and says that no guests ever stayed in the priests’ quarters at the chancery.
In a letter sent to Hubbard in 2011, another man who identifies himself as a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of an Albany Diocese clergyman described going to confession and telling a priest about the abuse he was suffering. "I was ordered to never talk about it again, I was told to go to the altar to confess my sins," he wrote. "I — a child — was told to ask God’s forgiveness for what I ‘had done.’”
If the claims weren't ignored or the priest admitted to abuse, the diocese'sFind more information online here.
Filed Under Cases Catholic Church Child Victims Act (CVA) Childhood Sexual Abuse