Catholic Critics Want Investigation Bill Released

By Robert Cristo
The Record
August 4, 2004

ALBANY - It's been nearly seven weeks, and some Catholics are wondering why the Albany Diocese has yet to release the bill for attorney Mary Jo White's investigation that found no merit to sexual misconduct allegations against Bishop Howard Hubbard.

Members of the Coalition of Concerned Catholics in the Albany Diocese (CCCAD) called upon Hubbard Tuesday to publicly release the full, unedited and itemized bill on the investigation that cleared him, a bill that could potentially cost the diocese more than $1 million.

White was re- tained at a cost of more than $700 an hour by the diocese in February to investigate whether Hubbard could be linked to engaging in sexual activities in the 1970s.

The 350-page report found "no credible evidence" that Hubbard engaged in any sexual activities with a male prostitute, a male suicide victim or other priests.

"The Albany Diocese admits that it intends to pay for this specimen of self-serving propaganda out of funds collected from the faithful to pay for diocesan insurance," said coalition member Joseph Bonville in a statement.

"Catholics, therefore, have a right to know the selfish lengths to which our chief shepherd is willing to go in his attempt to escape impartial scrutiny for his misrule in Albany," he added.

According to Albany Diocese spokesperson Kenneth Goldfarb, the diocese has yet to receive the bill from White's New York City law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, but expects to release it the second it does.

"She (White) made a statement that it would be expensive and we expect that to be the case," said Goldfarb, "but we haven't received the bill yet.

"As soon as we do, we plan on letting everyone know what it is," he added.

Marvin Smilon, a representative from White's office, supported Goldfarb's statement by saying the bill has not yet been submitted to the Albany Diocese Review Board.

He would not speculate on when the bill would be released, but did say it should be soon.

Attorney John Aretakis, who represents many alleged victims of clergy sex abuse, continues to have reservations about both the findings in the report and whether the diocese will release the total bill.

"Had this bill been released even with an estimate on June 24 (the day White unveiled the findings of her investigation), White's report would have been viewed more critically when it was released," said Aretakis.

The CCCAD also said Tuesday that it is currently reviewing the "White Report" and will share all of its findings on the document with the public in the coming weeks.

"Ms. White depicts his (Hubbard's) reign as one in which the unrestrained depravity and infidelity of many of clergy went unchecked for over two decades," said Bonville. "Though deeply flawed and partisan, White's report vindicates the CCCAD's reason for seeking Hubbard's immediate resignation."


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