Suit Filed in Boston against Diocesesuit
Albany-- Lawyer Seeks Access to Personnel File of a Former Albany Priest Accused of Abuse in 1980s
By Brian Nearing
Albany Times Union [Albany NY]
January 28, 2004
A lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Boston against the Albany Catholic Diocese in a two-decade-old case of clergy sexual abuse, in hopes that the courts there will do something no local judge has done -- force the diocese to open a priest's personnel file to public scrutiny.
The lawsuit by Joseph Woodward accuses the Albany Diocese, former priest Dozia Wilson and the Boston Archdiocese of Wilson's alleged sexual abuse of Woodward between 1980 and 1985, when Woodward was a teenager.
Woodward's lawyer, John Aretakis, said he decided to file the suit in Boston, rather than Albany, because extended statute of limitation laws and judges there are more favorable toward victims of sexual abuse by priests.
Lawsuits in Boston against priests for sexual abuse forced the archdiocese in 2001 to disgorge dozens of personnel files, which sparked the crisis that ultimately forced Cardinal Bernard Law to quit.
Last year, the Albany Diocese paid a half-million dollars to settle the case of a 42-year-old molested by Wilson, who was among the priests whose records were revealed. His was the first known connection between the Albany Diocese and the Boston Archdiocese in the national clergy abuse scandal.
Wilson had been transferred from Albany to Boston in 1976 amid accusations of sexual abuse, but he returned to Albany in 1980 after Boston officials encountered similar problems with Wilson.
Tuesday's lawsuit accuses Wilson, who met Woodward after returning to the Capital Region, of repeatedly taking his victim to Boston, where the priest allegedly got him drunk and had sex with him.
Wilson, now in his 60s, was removed from St. Mary's Parish in 1990 by Bishop Howard Hubbard because of other complaints of sexual abuse. He left the priesthood in 1993.
"I guarantee you one thing," Aretakis said Tuesday. "I will get the (Albany) diocese's personnel file for Father Wilson."
Woodward did not attend a news conference held by Aretakis, who said his client is in his late 30s and lives in the Capital Region.
On Tuesday spokesman Ken Goldfarb said the diocese's Sexual Misconduct Review Board is investigating "recently received complaints" against Wilson.
"Bishop Howard Hubbard removed Mr. Wilson from ministry in 1990," said Goldfarb. "The Albany Diocese encourages all individuals who as children were sexually abused by a Catholic cleric to come forward for assistance."
In 1976, Wilson left Sacred Heart Parish in Albany after some parents complained to District Attorney Sol Greenberg about an incident involving Wilson and young boys at an Albany motel.
Instead of prosecuting the case, Greenberg agreed with Bishop Edwin Broderick to drop the case if Wilson left the Capital Region.
But parishioners in Boston later complained about Wilson's relationship with young boys.
Hubbard reassigned Wilson in the Albany Diocese in 1980, where the priest served for 10 more years at St. Ann's in Fort Ann and St. Mary's in Hudson. He was also a chaplain at the Columbia County jail.
Wilson lives in Westchester County. Following publicity in 2002, Wilson lost his job at a home for troubled youths in Dobbs Ferry.
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