Hubbard Denies 2nd Allegation
By Mike Matvey
September 17, 2019
|Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard|
Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard has been accused in a second lawsuit, alleging that he sexually abused a girl in the rectory of the Immaculate Conception Church in Schenectady along with two other priests in the 1970s.
Bishop Hubbard, who was previously named in a lawsuit alleging he sexually abused a teenage boy in the 1990s, released a statement Tuesday reiterating again that he has “never sexually abused anyone.”
“In response to the allegations of sexual misconduct that have been made against me under the Child Victims Act, I have stated before and I repeat that I have never sexually abused anyone of any age at any time,” Hubbard said in the statement. “I do not assert that the individuals that have accused me have not been abused. Surely, the abuse they have described is horrific and heartbreaking. I pray daily that they will find healing, justice and peace. However, I am absolutely certain that I was not their abuser nor ever participated in their abuse. I will defend myself in the civil and canonical processes with every fiber of my being.
"With respect to the specific claim that I socialized, played cards and participated with other priests in abusing a child at a rectory in Schenectady in the 1970s, I never engaged in any of the behavior described. I know or knew the other priests also accused by this individual, but I did not socialize with them. I have directed my attorney to forward the allegation to the Schenectady County District Attorney’s office and to ask for a thorough investigation in which I pledge my full and complete cooperation.
"During my 37 years of episcopal tenure as Bishop of Albany, I met with many survivors of abuse and heard firsthand the pain that they suffered at the time of the abuse and its consequences over the years. As Bishop, I acted on every complaint of sexual abuse that I received and commissioned investigations of those allegations. I removed offending priests and saw to it that appropriate assistance was provided to survivors."
Mary DeTurris Poust, director of communications, called the new allegations “deeply troubling” which will be investigated.
“The allegations contained in this lawsuit are deeply troubling and will be investigated without fear or favor. It is important to remember that, like anyone else, Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard enjoys the presumption of innocence until and unless proven otherwise. The Diocese of Albany will keep its focus on survivors and on trying to get to the truth of the matter in each and every case that is filed,” DeTurris Poust said.
“In this particular case, Bishop Scharfenberger is in the process of informing Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who serves as Metropolitan for our province, as well as the papal nuncio regarding the allegations as they relate to Bishop Hubbard, in keeping with the requirements set forward by Pope Francis in the document known as Vos Estis.”
This second civil complaint alleges that the plaintiff known as Harper Doe (“Harper”) was repeatedly sexually abused at poker games in the rectory of the Immaculate Conception starting in 1977. Along with Bishop Hubbard, Rev. Francis P. Melfe, who has been previously listed on the diocesan website of credibly accused priests, is also named in the lawsuit. Father Albert E. DelVecchio, who died in 2017, is also accused of sexually abusing the plaintiff, who remains anonymous.
This is the second lawsuit filed directly naming Bishop Hubbard of sexual abuse since the Child Victims Act (CVA) went into effect on Aug. 14. The first lawsuit accused Bishop Hubbard, who along with the Diocese of Albany is name in multiple other lawsuits, of allegedly abusing a teenager in the 1990s.
After the first lawsuit alleging Bishop Hubbard of abuse, he denied that abuse ever took place, saying “With full and complete confidence, I can say this allegation is false. I have never sexually abused anyone in my life.” He took a voluntary leave of absence from ministry.
The CVA lifted the statute of limitations that prevented victims of child sexual abuse from bringing allegations before the courts. This “window,” as it is known, will be open for one year. To date, more than 30 lawsuits have been filed under CVA against the Diocese of Albany.