Mystery Shrouds Priest's 'Suicide'

By Fredric U. Dicker
New York Post [Albany NY]
February 17, 2004

Police are investigating the strange death of a longtime priest - a leading critic of Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard, who is fighting charges of homosexual activity.

The Rev. John Minkler, chaplain of the local Veterans Administration Hospital, was found dead Sunday afternoon in nearby Watervliet, amid indications that he committed suicide, according to a police official.

A note was found with the body - which WRGB-TV in Albany said indicated Minkler's "unhappiness with Hubbard's links to homosexuality" within the Albany Diocese.

Hubbard has been accused in recent weeks of paying for homosexual sex decades ago and with being involved with a young man who committed suicide around the same time. Hubbard has repeatedly insisted the charges are false.

"We've been apprised of Rev. Minkler's death and we're awaiting the results of the autopsy," said Albany District Attorney Paul Clyne.

WRGB also quoted Clyne as saying that Minkler's death came "under strange circumstances that bear watching."

The bishop said he was "stunned" by Minkler's death, and said the priest assured him as recently as Friday that he was not the source of criticism of Hubbard's handling of a series of child-abuse cases involving Albany priests.


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