A former bishop in New York state has admitted to covering up allegations of sexual abuse against children committed by 11 priests over the period of 25 years.
In a statement on March 28, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)—a worldwide peer network of survivors of institutional sexual abuse and their supporters—denounced Howard Hubbard for deliberately overlooking multiple sexual assaults that took place between 1977 and 2002.
The former bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany made the admission during a deposition in April last year, confessing that he was informed of priests sexually abusing children during their time in service and acknowledging that he refrained from informing the police about the crimes.
Hundreds of people had filed claims under the New York Child Victims Act, suing the Albany diocese over sexual abuse they endured as children. A judge ordered the deposition in late March.
“Now parishioners and the public know concretely that their former bishop was actively involved in covering up abuse,” SNAP said in a statement.
The organization added that it hopes “this news will encourage law enforcement to look into this situation and prosecute any crimes that were committed.”
During the four-day deposition, Mr. Hubbard reportedly named several priests who had been accused of sexual abuse. One of them, David Bentley, admitted to Hubbard that he had engaged in the behavior.
The bishop testified that he didn’t report the allegations to law enforcement agencies and kept the whole affair under wraps out of concern for “scandal and the respect of the priesthood.”
Cynthia LaFave, an attorney representing some of the plaintiffs, in a statement on March 26 said the transcript “will be read with horror by the public.”
“The public will see the culpability of the Diocese in perpetuating a culture of sex abuse by priests that was allowed to continue for decades,” she noted.
Mr. Hubbard ran the Diocese in New York’s capital district between 1977 and 2014 and was among those accused of sexual abuse. He, however, has denied allegations against himself.
According to WNYT13, Hubbard resigned as the bishop in 2014 in hope to protect pedophiles and reputation of the church.
The Diocese of Albany said in a statement that its priority was “the protection and assistance of victim/survivors and the discovery of the truth” and that it “has and continues to resolve pending claims of victims/survivors in mediation with the assistance of the court.”
The Roman Catholic Church has been hit by numerous scandals over the years, involving allegations of covering up sexual abuse of children by priests to protect the reputation of the church.
There has been a worldwide outcry over it and demands that the Roman Catholic Church address the systemic cover-up of child abuse by clergy and church institutions.
Approximately 6,900 U.S. Roman Catholic priests were accused of sexual abuse with at least 16,900 young victims between 1950 and 2011, according to data from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Cases of Catholic priests raping and molesting children, and of bishops covering up for them, have erupted on nearly every continent in recent years. (PressTV.ir)