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Statement from Bishop Howard J. Hubbard

FILE-Bishop Howard Hubbard at the state Capitol on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. FILE-Bishop Howard Hubbard at the state Capitol on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. | Photo: AP Photo/Mike Groll.

June 13, 2019 03:07 PM

Bishop Howard J. Hubbard emailed the following statement to NewsChannel 13 after promotions begain airing for Jill Konopka's investigation into a clergy abuse case in the Albany Diocese. NewsChannel 13 requested an interview the bishop via the diocese, but was told the bishop was not available.

I understand from promotional spots on WNYT that you plan to broadcast a news story on Thursday evening that may be critical of me. I have not been contacted for comment but wish to share my perspective with you, which I hope you will include in your story. 

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I have been a Roman Catholic priest for 55 years. I was the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany for 37 years. 

At all times, in every circumstance, and especially when helping survivors of clergy sexual abuse, I did everything in my power to bring peace, hope and healing. I welcomed, listened to, supported and apologized to each person. I offered appropriate medical and spiritual assistance. I turned no one away. Never did I treat a survivor of sexual abuse with disrespect. My approach always was to treat each person with the utmost compassion and dignity. 

I am uncomfortable drawing attention to my own work, but I think it’s important that you know that in 1993 I was among the first bishops in our country to establish a comprehensive policy to address sexual abuse. We created a review board principally made up of lay persons to oversee investigations of allegations against clergy. We promptly reported to local law enforcement agencies allegations of sexual abuse and provided help and support to survivors. In 2004, the Albany Diocese was among the first in the nation to establish an independent mediation program to provide financial and other assistance to survivors. 

As you may know, Edward Pratt was removed from ministry in 2002, at my direction.  Our review board had found reasonable cause to believe he sexually abused a minor. 

I pray each day for every individual who suffered abuse, and I pray for the individual involved in this case that he will experience healing and peace. Thank you for the opportunity to share my perspective. I will refrain from further public comment on this matter out of respect for the process that will take place.

Howard J. Hubbard

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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