No Let-up in Sex-Abuse Scandal

By Edward E. Plowman
World Magazine [United States]
Downloaded March 12, 2004

The clergy sex-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church refuses to go away. This month the district attorney in Springfield, Mass., announced he will go before a grand jury with accusations that recently retired Bishop Thomas Dupre, 70, abused two altar boys when he was a parish priest, beginning in the 1970s and continuing into the 1990s. Bishop Dupre resigned last month, citing health reasons. His resignation came a day after a Springfield newspaper confronted him with charges concerning the two boys. Refraining from public comment, he checked himself into a church-run psychiatric hospital in Maryland. He is the fourth bishop to resign over sex-abuse allegations in the past two years.

In Albany, N.Y., Bishop Howard Hubbard, 65, is fighting charges that he was involved in two homosexual relationships, one of which led to a man's suicide 30 years ago. He also was accused of sheltering gay priests from abuse charges. In a PR campaign, he denied ever having sexual relations with anyone and claimed conservatives in the church were out to get him and discredit the hierarchy. He announced he had persuaded the diocesan council to hire a former federal prosecutor to investigate the charges independently.

The story deepened last month when priest John Minkler was found dead in his home near Albany. He had met with Bishop Hubbard two days earlier to deny involvement in writing and sending a 1996 letter to the New York Archdiocese that claimed the bishop was part of a "ring of homosexual Albany priests." The cause of Rev. Minkler's death remains under investigation.

The Archdiocese of Boston this month filed suit against one of its insurers, Lumberman's Mutual Casualty Co., for refusing to cover $59.3 million of an $85 million church settlement with 522 victims of clergy abuse. The insurer argued the archdiocese's settlement was a voluntary payment, and the company was not obligated to contribute.


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