Alleged Victims: Don't Forget Real Sex Scandal

By Robert Cristo
The Record
June 25, 2004

ALBANY - Now that Albany's Bishop Howard Hubbard has been cleared of all sexual misconduct allegations, alleged victims of clergy sex abuse want an equally thorough investigation completed on the diocese's handling of clergy pedophile cases dating back to the 1960s.

Alleged victims of clergy sex abuse say Thursday's clearing of Hubbard should not be confused with the real sex scandal that has rocked dioceses throughout the country since it became public in Boston two years ago.

Many are calling for an equally detailed inquiry into finding out if the bishop did enough to stop known pedophile priests from harming more children under his watch.

"All they did was spend millions of dollars to prove Hubbard didn't go to gay bars," said Mark Furnish, a Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests member, who spoke inside Albany Law School immediately after White's announcement there Thursday.

"I would like to see that amount of resources and money go into an investigation that proves Hubbard didn't cover up sexual abuse of children," added Furnish, who was allegedly abused as a child in Rochester.

As an attorney himself, Furnish wonders why Albany County District Attorney Paul Clyne and other offices across the country haven't followed the lead of Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota in launching an investigation into diocese clergy sex abuse cover-ups.

Spota completed a nine-month special grand jury investigation of the Long Island Diocese in Rockville Center in 2003, which found cover-ups and sexual abuse in the diocese.

Spota recommended that statute of limitations laws should be eliminated due to the cover-ups, which he labeled a "conspiracy."

The massive (nearly 200-page) report concluded that the Rockville Diocese proved "incapable" of "properly handling" issues related to sex abuse of children by priests.

According to Spota, church officials were not fully cooperative in the investigation at times.

Thirty-seven-year-old Joe Woodward, who claims to have been molested by defrocked Albany priest Dozia Wilson in the early 1980s, said he believes his case is a perfect example of one that Hubbard could have prevented from occurring.

One year before Hubbard was installed as bishop, Wilson, 59, was removed from the Albany Diocese and sent to the Boston Archdiocese after he got caught having sex with two boys in an Albany hotel, according to Woodward.

No charges were filed against him, but then-Albany District Attorney Sol Greenburg ordered the diocese to never allow Wilson to return to an Albany parish.

However, in 1979, Wilson was returned to Albany under Hubbard's watch after allegations of sexual abuse about him arose in Boston.

Woodward said the priest then began a four-year friendship with him (when he was 14) at St. Ann's Church in Fort Ann, which he claims has tortured him for the rest of his life.

"Wilson was put back in New York after so many complaints, and Hubbard didn't know anything about it?" said Woodward, who lived with Wilson for a short time as a teenager. "Come on. ... That is a lot crap, and he (Hubbard) knows it.

"Hubbard may not be guilty of being gay, but he's definitely guilty of moving bad priests around and not admitting it," Woodward added.

After finally being removed from ministry in 1993 for sexual misconduct, Wilson was named director of spiritual life and awareness at St. Christopher's Residential Treatment Center, where he had access to hundreds of children from dysfunctional family backgrounds.

He has since disappeared from that position after being found beaten into unconsciousness by a male prostitute in a New York City apartment building hallway in 2003.

Wilson never pressed charges against the prostitute, who also stole his money and car.

"When you think about all the horrible things that could have been prevented ... to me, Hubbard being gay was never the issue," said Woodward.

Speaking on whether an independent investigator will be hired to look into the sexual abuse scandal, Albany Diocese spokesperson Kenneth Goldfarb pointed out that two studies have already been conducted, which include one undertaken by the National Review Board (a lay watchdog panel of bishops) and another by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Those reports, released earlier this year, found in 121 cases of alleged sexual abuse since 1950, 53 clergy ended up being accused.

From that, the Albany Diocese deduced that about 2 percent of 814 priests during 53 years actually abused children.

Hubbard called the findings "disturbing" and "painful" and publicly stated that "we bishops" failed to address properly the sexual abuse problem within the church, but never got into specifics of what he knew under his watch.

Both reports pale in comparison to White's investigation into homosexual misconduct allegations against Hubbard by local attorney John Aretakis and his clients, said the victims.

According to Furnish, the reports lacked any real depth and dioceses did not have to open their files for either inquiry.

He also contends the details provided by dioceses were "only volunteered information."

"They were just public relations tools for the dioceses to explain away the clergy sex abuse scandal," said Furnish.

According to Goldfarb, he had no knowledge of the diocese planning to conduct any kind of independent investigation into the matter, and Clyne has already stated he has no plans on carrying out one.


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