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Attorneys: Hubbard testimony proves previous abuse statements were misleading

Bishop Howard Hubbard, the former longtime head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany
Jeff Anderson & Associates
Bishop Howard Hubbard, the former longtime head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany

A 680-page deposition of testimony delivered under oath last year by Bishop Howard Hubbard, the former longtime head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, was publicly released for the first time Friday — showing Hubbard acknowledged the diocese covered up at least 11 sexual abuse claims against clergy during his 37-year tenure. The release of the documents follows an Albany County Supreme Court decision denying Hubbard’s motion to keep the deposition sealed. Hubbard testified for four days last April.

With the diocese facing hundreds of Child Victims Act lawsuits, including an accusation against Hubbard himself – which he denies — Hubbard said in a statement last year that common practice in the 1970s and 80s was to remove accused priests from ministry temporarily and send them for counseling. Hubbard said he deeply regretted the policy.

But attorneys Jeff Anderson and Associates and Cynthia LaFave, who represent victims, say Hubbard’s testimony proves he was misleading in an August newspaper op-ed when saying the diocese didn’t alert authorities or publicize the abuse claims because victims did not want to make the matter public. Hubbard testified that he shielded accused priests in order to avoid scandal and preserve respect for the priesthood. Hubbard said he never reported the allegations to law enforcement or warned parishioners.

The diocese sent the following statement to WAMC Friday evening.

"Our priority is the protection and assistance of victim/survivors and the discovery of the truth," the statement reads. "The wounds persist, the accompaniment continues, the denial and cover up does not. As we stated earlier, while we cannot offer detailed information on historic events that occurred long ago, we can with absolute conviction say that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany takes all allegations of abuse seriously and remains committed to uncovering the truth without fear or favor. The Diocese has and continues to resolve pending claims of victims/survivors in mediations with the assistance of the court. We have settled claims with the intent to provide assistance to victims/survivors through mediation with their attorneys and the court."

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