[To see our complete list of accused bishops, click here.]

Albany bishop 1977-2014. Retired 2/11/2014, age 75. Died 8/19/2023.

Bishop Howard Hubbard was accused publicly of sexually abusing one young adult and nine children. Seven of the victims filed lawsuits under the Child Victims Act. Hubbard repeatedly denied all of the allegations.

Allegations against Hubbard first surfaced in February 2004: He was accused of paying a teen under age 18 for sex on two occasions in the 1970s, and also of having a sexual relationship with a young adult male who took his own life in 1978, leaving a note citing his abuse by “Howard” as the reason for his suicide. Hubbard denied the allegations, saying he had not violated celibacy. He hired his own investigator, who issued a report in June 2004 stating that there was “no credible evidence” of wrongdoing. Hubbard retired as Albany bishop in 2014, at the standard retirement age of 75.

From mid-August to mid-October 2019, the first two months of the NY Child Victim Act’s revival window for civil claims, Hubbard was accused of child molestation in four separate lawsuits. After the first of these lawsuits was reported in August 2019, Hubbard stepped away from public ministry. The four cases involved Hubbard’s alleged sexual assaults of: a 16-year-old boy in the 1990s at St. Mary’s church in Ballston Spa NY (see paragraphs 139-155 of 8/14/2019 complaint); a teenage girl in the late 1970s at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Schenectady NY; a teenage boy, age 16-18, from 1976 to 1978 at St. Michael the Archangel church in Troy NY (see 10/3/2019 complaint); and a boy, age 9 or 10, in the late 1980s at St. John the Baptist church in Chesterton NY (see 10/11/2019 complaint). A fifth lawsuit filed in 8/10/2020 (see complaintaccused Hubbard of abusing a boy, ages 9-11, in 1974-76 at St. James Church (now St. Francis of Assisi) in Albany. The alleged abuses of the child, which occurred multiple times, included anal rape. Note: Each of the five CVA lawsuits cited above asserted that Hubbard was abusing the victim in concert with one or two other abusive Albany priests, all of whom are named in the complaints.

An additional lawsuit filed 3/9/2021 accused Hubbard of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in the summer of 1977, shortly after Hubbard was installed as Albany bishop. The alleged incident occurred at the rectory of St. Edward the Confessor in Clifton Park NY. The Albany diocese said that the church was investigating Hubbard per Vos estis lux mundi. (Metropolitan is Cardinal Dolan.)

On 3/25/2022, Jeff Anderson & Associates released a 680-page transcript of the deposition of Hubbard conducted by multiple plaintiff attorneys from April 20 to April 23, 2021. In the deposition, which he took under oath. Hubbard admitted that as bishop he had not reported allegations against his priests to law enforcement and that he had reinstated priests to ministry after they abused. In a news release accompanying the depo, Jeff Anderson & Associates said that 10 people had filed CVA complaints accusing Hubbard himself of child sexual abuse.

In June 2022, the Albany Times-Union published an interview with two brothers in their 40s who said that Hubbard took part in some of hundreds of sexual assaults inflicted on them by former priest Gary Mercure. The brothers’ abuse by Mercure began in the mid-1980s, when one of the brothers was age 8, and lasted for a decade, into their high school years. The younger brother says that he was sexually abused by Hubbard once; the older brother alleges that Hubbard, who was bishop at the time, joined in the abuse on multiple occasions, and that the assaults took place in Lake George motels, Mercure’s vehicle, and the rectory of Our Lady of Annunciation in Queensbury NY.

According to the Times-Union, the two brothers were not able to file a lawsuit under the Child Victims Act, as they had signed a settlement agreement with the diocese years earlier that had required them to release the diocese from future civil action.

On 11/18/2022, Hubbard announced that he had petitioned the Vatican for permission to return to the lay state. His stated reason: a church policy forbidding all accused priests from ministering publicly. Its effect has been to “deprive me of the single greatest joy of my life,” he wrote. Current Albany bishop Scharfenberger stated publicly that the policy does not apply to accused bishops and that Hubbard’s abstention from ministry had been voluntary. According to some reports, Hubbard was seeking laicization in order to marry.

On 11/21/2022, a state Supreme Court judge ruled that the New York archdiocese had to turn over 1,400 pages of its Vos Estis file on Hubbard to a victim alleging child sexual abuse by Hubbard and two other priests.

On 8/1/2023, Hubbard stated in an open letter that the Vatican had denied his laicization request several months earlier but that he had gone ahead and married a woman who he said had helped care for him. In a public response, Bishop Scharfenberger stated that the Church did not recognize the marriage as valid. He also revealed for the first time that the Church had imposed restrictions on Hubbard: “While he is not permitted to represent himself as a priest or perform the sacraments in public, Bishop Hubbard remains a retired bishop of the Roman Catholic Church,” Scharfenberger said. The restrictions apparently had been imposed at some point since the previous November, when Scharfenberger had made clear that Hubbard’s cessation of public ministry had been voluntary and not imposed by the Church.

On 8/19/2023, Hubbard died after suffering a massive stroke. His funeral was celebrated in a church by Bishop Scharfenberger, one other bishop, and about two dozen priests. Scharfenberger said in his homily that there was “much to celebrate” about Hubbard’s life, adding that Hubbard “was not an uncontroversial figure at times,” but that “priests are human beings.” He did not address Hubbard’s many alleged victims or his admissions of reinstating child molesters to ministry and not reporting their crimes to the police.