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Lawsuit says former Albany bishop abused 11-year-old in 1977

March 21, 2021 GMT

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The former bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany has been accused of sexually abusing a child decades ago in a lawsuit filed last week, the seventh time the retired bishop has been named as an abuser in a lawsuit filed under New York’s Child Victims Act.

The lawsuit filed anonymously by a man who is now in his 50s alleges that retired bishop Howard Hubbard abused the plaintiff in 1977 when he was 11, the Times Union of Albany reports.

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The complaint claims Hubbard approached the 11-year-old at a church carnival, told the boy to accompany him to the rectory and molested him there.

“At that age, you just don’t know. You don’t know how to deal with it. And I’ve done a lot of reflecting over the years trying to understand — was this my fault?” the plaintiff said in an interview with the newspaper.

The lawsuit, filed on the man’s behalf by the firm of Herman Law, names the Diocese of Albany and St. Edward the Confessor Roman Catholic Church in Clifton Park as defendants.

The Times Union reports that the lawsuit is seventh accusing Hubbard of abuse since New York lawmakers passed the Child Victims Act, allowing abuse claims that were previously banned by the statute of limitations to be filed.

Hubbard, 82, retired in 2014. He told the Times Union in an email sent by his secretary: “I pray for the anonymous individual who filed this lawsuit that he will know the healing and peace of God’s love and will find the justice and closure he seeks. I know with absolute certainty that I did not abuse him because I know with absolute certainty that I have never abused a child or an adult, sexually or in any other way.”

Albany’s current Bishop Edward Scharfenberger “takes all allegations of abuse seriously and is committed to uncovering the truth without fear or favor,” Mary DeTurris Poust, communications director for the diocese, told the newspaper.