Former US Bishop admits diocese covered up sexual abuse for decades

diocese covered up sexual abuse

The New York diocese of Albany handled abuse allegations against priests in the 1970’s and 1980’s by sending them to counselling and treatment rather than notifying law enforcement.

The admission came from Emeritus Bishop Howard Hubbard, through his laywer, in a statement provided to the Albany Times-Union.

“When an allegation of sexual misconduct against a priest was received in the 1970s and 1980s, the common practice in the Albany diocese and elsewhere was to remove the priest from ministry temporarily and send him for counselling and treatment,” Hubbard said.

“Only when a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist determined the priest was capable of returning to ministry without reoffending did we consider placing the priest back in ministry.

“The professional advice we received was well-intended but flawed, and I deeply regret that we followed it.”

Some of those priests allegedly emerged from treatment and committed more crimes.

Hubbard, who ran the diocese from 1977 to 2014 confirmed that the diocese shielded priests and others facing sexual abuse allegations.

Hubbard currently faces a Vos Estis investigation, a Vatican-ordered investigation into allegations that he committed sexual abuse.

The 2019 document Vos Estis lux Mundi contained Pope Francis’ norms for investigating allegations of episcopal misconduct.

An anonymous plaintiff in March filed a lawsuit against Hubbard, alleging that Hubbard molested him in 1977, soon after his installation as bishop.

The diocesan communications director told CNA at the time of the lawsuit that Hubbard maintained he had never abused a child.

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