Former Albany bishop accused of molesting boy in the 1970s: suit

New York Post

March 19, 2021

By Bernadette Hogan and Priscilla DeGregory

former Catholic bishop in Albany has been accused of molesting an 11-year-old boy at a carnival more than 40 years ago, according to new court papers.

It’s the seventh such lawsuit leveling allegations against retired Bishop Howard Hubbard.

Hubbard’s latest accuser — now an adult who filed suit anonymously — was volunteering at a carnival fundraiser for the Clifton Park church St. Edward’s in the summer of 1977 when he was sexually abused, says the Albany Supreme Court lawsuit filed last week.

The accuser — who came from a devout Catholic family — went to get cups from a storage room when Hubbard told him to join him in the rectory, the court papers allege.

Hubbard, who was wearing his priestly garb, then “sexually assaulted and abused” the boy, the documents say.

Hubbard, in a statement issued to The Post through a spokeswoman Friday, denied the allegation.

“I pray for the anonymous individual who filed this lawsuit that he will know the healing and peace of God’s love and will find the justice and closure he seeks,” Hubbard said. “I know with absolute certainty that I did not abuse him because I know with absolute certainty that I have never abused a child or an adult, sexually or in any other way.”

The accuser was able to sue thanks to the New York Child Victims Act — which allows people alleging childhood abuse to bring claims regardless of statutes of limitation. These types of claims are being allowed to be filed during a two-year period set to expire in August.

Hubbard, now 82, was first publicly targeted by accusations in 2019, spurring an investigation by the church. That probe is currently paused while the civil cases against Hubbard play out, the Albany Diocese said.

Hubbard’s lawyer, Anne Hurley, questioned why it took so long for this victim to come forward.

“The bishop’s feeling about this individual is that obviously he’s a troubled person,” Hurley told The Post. “If he is a victim of abuse, it is not at the hands of Bishop Hubbard.

“He misidentified his abuser, if the abuse did occur.”

Hurley said Hubbard has been “a champion of these victims” going back to 1993, when he started an outreach program for victims of sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Albany said in a statement, “Bishop Edward Scharfenberger takes all allegations of abuse seriously and is committed to uncovering the truth without fear or favor.

“Bishop Hubbard has maintained that he has never abused a child and enjoys the presumption of innocence throughout the civil and canonical proceedings.”