DIOCESE OF ALBANY NY
ALBANY -- Two percent of the Diocesan priests in ministry in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany in the last half-century were found to have sexually abused a minor, the diocese said in a report issued today. None of the offending priests is in ministry today.
The diocese said it had found reasonable cause to believe sexual abuse allegations against 18 priests since 1950. A total of 814 diocesan priests served in active ministry during the same period.
“Abuse of minors is a grave sin and a serious crime, a reprehensible violation of trust by a priest who is called to be a witness of Christ’s love on Earth and should strive to uphold the highest standard of moral conduct,” said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard.
“Promoting healing and preventing future abuse continue to be urgent priorities for me, for the Albany Diocese and for our church as a whole,” Bishop Hubbard said. “We believe that knowing the full historical extent of this problem will help make our current and future efforts to prevent clergy sexual abuse of minors more effective.”
In the report, the diocese said:
* 53 clergy affiliated with the Albany Diocese, all but one of them priests, were accused by 121 individuals of sexual abuse between 1950 and November 1, 2003 ;
* Thus far, the diocese has found reasonable cause to believe allegations against 18 priests – representing 2% of the 814 priests in service during the period. None of the 18 priests is in active ministry today.
* Allegations against 15 current or former clergy are now under investigation.
* 11 priests were cleared after allegations were investigated and determined to be unfounded.
* The diocese has insufficient information at this time to assess whether there is reasonable cause to believe allegations against nine other clergy, none of whom is in active service.
* The Diocese received allegations by 20 individuals against 15 priests affiliated with other dioceses or religious orders. The diocese referred those allegations for action to their respective dioceses or orders.
* 70 percent of the alleged incidents were reported to have occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. Nearly half of all of the allegations were received by the diocese in the last three years.
* The Diocesan insurance fund provided $3,025,000 in compensation to victims of clergy sexual abuse during the 53-year period. The insurance fund also covered $965,697 in counseling, legal and other costs associated with clergy sexual abuse issues since 1950. More than 80 percent of that sum was spent to provide counseling for victims and priests.
* More than 8,000 Albany Diocese employees and volunteers have been trained to spot signs of and prevent sexual abuse of minors. The diocese has completed background checks on 2,000 employees and volunteers who work with minors.
Each of the 195 Roman Catholic Dioceses in the United States has been instructed to collect and provide data to researchers at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice on the incidence of clergy sexual abuse of minors between 1950 and June 2002. John Jay researchers were commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to prepare a report on the problem. The report is scheduled to be released in February.
The Albany Diocese is among the first in the country to issue a public report on its findings. The report was published in the Diocesan newspaper, The Evangelist, and posted on the Diocesan Web site (www.rcda.org).
To view the full report, please visit www.rcda.org/HistAccount.htm
Contacts: Father Kenneth Doyle
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