Tag: Bishop Howard Hubbard

Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard

Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard Makes Excuses For Church

In a fairly unusual move, Diocese of Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard has taken to the news media recently to try and rehab his image.

His latest missive comes in an op ed for the Albany Times Union. Before looking in detail at some of his claims, let’s note a glaring omission by the now-retired prelate.

He devotes more than 900 words to defending how he and his colleagues handled child sex crimes. But he doesn’t once mention that he himself is accused, in civil lawsuits, of molesting at least five kids.


Now when someone won’t admit that he’s an accused sex offender, it’s kinda hard to believe him when he says he didn’t protect other sex offenders.

So let’s dive into the claims made by Diocese of Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard.

In the 1970s and 1980s, when an allegation of sexual misconduct against a priest was received, the common practice in the Albany Diocese and elsewhere was to remove the priest from ministry and send him for counseling and treatment.

—- ‘Common’ doesn’t make it right. “Everybody else does it” is an excuse that doesn’t work for kids and teens, much less for well-educated, powerful, allegedly holy and celibate “men of God” who have many advisors and lawyers and could easily, if they so choose, have gotten and followed excellent advice on dealing with predators.

Only when a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist determined the priest was capable of returning to ministry without reoffending did we consider placing him back in ministry.

While most priests who were so treated did not reoffend, it did not always work.

—- If you want to make this claim, then show us some stats. I can say “Most of the time, I meet deadlines.” But if history, psychology and common sense suggest that’s not true, then I’d better provide hard data proving my claim.

Our failure to notify the parish and the public when a priest was removed or restored was a mistake.

—- No, it wasn’t. It was a deliberate strategy, day in and day out, over decades. It was a series of self-serving steps to safeguard the diocese’s staff, resources and reputations.

Far better is the policy the Albany Diocese adopted of notifying law enforcement authorities upon receipt of an allegation, with full disclosure to the parish community and the public.

—- Here again, Hubbard – an accused child molester – is asking us to take his claims at face value. The diocese now SAYS it tells police and parishioners and the public about abuse reports, but how do we know this is true or happens in every case?

Most of the allegations received in the 1970s and ’80s involved misconduct that was well beyond criminal and civil statutes of limitations.

—- Sorry, Bishop Hubbard, that wasn’t and isn’t your call. I can’t wreck your car, have it towed away and scrapped, claiming “I knew it couldn’t be fixed, so I handled it myself.” US Catholic bishops may know tons about church teachings and practice and theology and history. They are not, however, experts in the law. They are not qualified to determine which abuse reports are ‘actionable’ and which aren’t.

The diocese, however, did not take the initiative to report the allegations to criminal authorities partially because, in a majority of the cases, the victims themselves did not want to make the matter public and many times sought confidentiality through their attorneys.

—-Nice try, but this is disingenuous. Many victim say “I don’t want my name in the newspaper.” Few if any victim ever says “Please bishop, keep quiet about my abuser and do nothing so other he can keep assaulting children.” There are today, and were years ago, ways to protect kids and help victims and call police without compromising the privacy of crime victims.

Further, in several of the incidents, the matter was brought to the diocese’s attention by criminal or civil authorities themselves. There was a sense in those days that these crimes should be handled with a minimum of publicity that might re-victimize a minor.

—- Recall that just a a few sentences back Hubbard claimed most cases were beyond the statute of limitations, which means the victim reported when he or she was an adult. Here, he suddenly reverses himself, and implies that in many cases, a report was made when the victim was still a child. And note the passive voice: “There was a sense. . . “ Whose sense, Bishop? Yours of course.

In 2004, we established an independent mediation program, developed and overseen by retired Court of Appeals Judge Howard Levine, to compensate victims of clergy sex abuse, long before any other diocese in the state and few in the country had done so.

—- And in so doing, prevented many survivors from getting what they really deserved and wanted: their day in court. The obvious, better course of action: join survivors in working to reform archaic state laws that prevented victims from exposing predators and safeguarding kids. But, no, you chose payouts over prevention.

Where we fell short was in our failure to fully understand the impacts on victims and survivors.

—- No, Bishop, where you “fell short” (and it wasn’t a mistaken ‘fall’ – it was a intentional set of selfish decisions) was in your commitment to putting your own needs and the needs of your institution ahead of the needs of victims, families and parishioners. You correctly understood that Catholic moms and dads, and donors and police and prosecutors and judges and juries and lawmakers would all be outraged to learn that child molesting clerics were being shielded and shuffled quietly to other unsuspecting communities where they often molested again.

While we never condoned, ignored or took lightly sexual abuse of minors, we did not respond as quickly, as knowledgeably and as compassionately as we should have. . .

—- Nor as honestly or responsibly, and the result is as clear as it is damning – more innocent kids were hurt, more families were destroyed, more parishioners were betrayed and deceived.

Pray all you want Bishop. But if you want anyone to believe that your “most fervent prayer is that victim/survivors and their families will find healing, reconciliation and peace in God’s love,” show it with your deeds and stop ducking and dodging and making excuses that only rub more salt into the already-deep and still-fresh wounds of thousands.

We’re Confused About This Diocese of Albany Clergy Predator

Can you help us figure something out? Despite decades of experience with child sex abuse cases, we at Horowitz Law are confused about a priest just “outed” as an abuser by his church supervisors.

Last week, the Albany diocese announced that it’s adding Fr. Lawrence G. McTavey to its list of credibly accused child molesting clerics.



So far, a pretty typical-sounding pedophile priest case, right? Yes.

Pretty straightforward, right? No.

Two quick facts you should know, according to WRGB TV: “The diocesan review board hired an investigator to look into a long history of allegations against Fr. McTavey” against whom “multiple abuse claims were filed between 2002 and 2019.”

Now, here where it gets confusing and here are a few of our questions:

Why did Albany Catholic officials apparently publicly disclose nothing about Fr. McTave

–when he was apparently first accused of abuse in 2002 (when all US bishops agreed, in writing, to be ‘open and transparent’ about predators)

–when the diocese first posed a ‘credibly accused’ list in 2015 and

–when the diocese updated that list in 2018 and

–updated it again in 2019 and

–when Fr. McTavey died almost a year ago.

Why did Albany church officials – including Bishop Howard Hubbard and Bishop Edward Scharfenberger – wait nearly two decades before taking action against this priest?

And this of course leads to perhaps the most disturbing question of all: If the Albany diocese hides allegations against this one priest for almost 20 years – AFTER the US bishops’ abuse policy (a.k.a. “the Dallas Charter”) pledging reform – how many other predators is it STILL hiding?

It should surprise no one that abuse continues to be mishandled in Albany. Bishop Hubbard faces several civil cases charging that he molested kids. And his replacement, Bishop Scharfenberger has been repeatedly blasted for shortcomings in abuse and cover up cases by SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and other groups and individuals.

But since Albany’s bishops, priests and lay chancery staff have been so irresponsible and secretive about Fr. McTavey, we at Horowitz Law decided to disclose more information about this predator that church officials have NOT disclosed. Fr. McTavey

—was a native of Troy NY,

—attended schools and seminaries in Rochester, Loundonville and Niagara.

—worked at churches in Stillwater, Cohoes, Crescent, Waterford, Troy and Albany,

—traveled to New York City whenever possible,

—headed the diocesan school board,

—spent considerable time in abroad (“took a sabbatical to study in Rome, took an extended trip to Ireland and travelled extensively throughout Europe.”)

Why is this relevant? Because it clearly shows that for decades and decades, Fr. McTavey had tremendous access to kids. (He also had family in Glenville, Clifton Park, and Greenbush, all in New York.)

And because this kind of biographical detail is what a responsible employer would reveal about a child molester, if that employer genuinely wanted to bring about healing, by prodding and clarifying the memories of others who were around the predator. (“See, honey, that Fr. McTavey DID work in both Cohoes and Waterford. So he IS the guy who took our son Bob camping years ago. Let’s call Bob and see if anything bad happened.”)


In all fairness, while we specifically mentioned two Albany bishops in this post, they aren’t the only ones who’ve been less than forthcoming in this case.

For starters, there are two ‘vicars general’ in the diocese. These are high ranking positions whose occupants often have access to valuable private church information (like who’s admitted or been accused of abuse). They are Fr. David LeFort (David.LeFort@rcda.org) and Fr. Bob Longobucco (Robert.Longobucco@rcda.org).

These two may have known about McTavey. And if they didn’t, they should be in the bishop’s face, confronting him about his continued secrecy.

Then there are the offices of “Safe Environment” and “Protecting Children:” Joyce Tarantino (joyce.tarantino@rcda.org, 518-453-6635) Brian Evers (brian.evers@rcda.org, 518-453-6635) and Anna Bagley (safeenv@rcda.org), Frederick Jones (assistance.coordinator@rcda.org, 518-453-6646).

Then there’s the diocesan review board, which looks at abuse cases: Jon Allen, Fr. David V. Berberian, Joseph Bernier, Jaclyn A. Brilling, Kathryn M. Martin, Sister Serena A. Thompson and Lawrence Wiest.

Some of the blame surely also rests with the diocese’s Communications Department: Mary Deturris Poust (mary.deturrispoust@rcda.org, 518 453-6618, @MaryDTP), Jason Husch (jason.husch@rcda.org), Molly Halpin (Molly.Halpin@rcda.org) and their predecessors.

Presumably, they work in education because they care about kids. So they’re particularly obligated to make sure the boss isn’t concealing information that might endanger kids.

Let’s go back to the simplest question: “Why do all these Albany church officials say nothing about abuse reports against Fr. McTavey for almost 20 years?”

And let’s end with the most upsetting: “What else are all they hiding?”