Man who settled sex abuse case with Albany Diocese met bishop before Sunday Mass
The Bishop of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese publicly met with one of the alleged church sex abuse survivors Sunday before mass. The victim says this was an important step forward in the healing process.
Outside Corpus Christi Church in Round Lake Sunday, Stephen Mittler had a conversation with Albany’s Roman Catholic Diocese’s Bishop Edward Scharfenberger. Mittler says this is the place he says he met his abuser former priest Mark Haight.
“That’s exactly where I met Mark Haight almost 34 years ago, August of 1988,” said Mittler.
Mittler says he was only 12-years-old when Haight started grooming him. He says Haight would take him up to his cabin in Warrensburg, where the two would wrestle. Mittler claims Haight molested and even raped him. Mittler is hoping his story will raise awareness and create transparency.
“I’ve had dozens of people reach out to me and say me too. Two folks were abused by Mark while he was a priest and one other person was abused by Mark after he resigned from the priesthood or fired from the priesthood,” said Mittler.
Mittler admits he and bishop Scharfenberger don’t totally see eye to eye, but he believes the two will have ongoing conversations.
“We agree that we agree we have trouble agreeing on some of those parts, but at the same time, I think there is a genuine offering to spend time together and work through that. Again, it really comes down to the transparency,” said Bishop Scharfenberger.
Bishop Scharfenberger says he wants to accompany anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse.
“I want everyone who in anyway who has been a victim of sexual abuse, not only by clergy, but we all know that it is common in our society, not to feel that they need to hide. And personally, I make that commitment to be present,” said Bishop Scharfenberger
Mittler is hoping by sharing his story, more victims will come forward.