Albany Diocese Deadline Looms

by | Sep 15, 2023 | Catholic Church, Firm News

Diocese of Albany Deadline to File Lawsuit Horowitz Law

It’s long, diverse, and includes eight nuns and a bishop. We’re talking about the list of publicly accused child molesting Catholic clerics in the Diocese of Albany. It’s pretty sober to read and ponder. But first, the latest news: If you were hurt by one of these clerics, you have only until November 1, 2023, to take action because the diocese will be forever immune from suit in any sexual abuse claim not filed by that date. You can read more about this here.

Over the years, families in the Albany area have been subject to a wide range of predators: nuns, brothers, deacons, priests, and, as mentioned above, eight nuns and a bishop who recently got married and died. According to (the most thorough and reliable source of information on this crisis), there are 106 proven, admitted, credibly and/or publicly accused child molesting clerics in the diocese. Compared to dioceses of similar size, that’s disproportionately very high in terms of Catholic population. The five dioceses that are slightly larger than Albany are:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Rockford
  3. Bridgeport
  4. Austin
  5. Fort Worth

They average 33 publicly accused child molesting clerics. The five dioceses that are slightly smaller than Albany are: 

  1. Corpus Christi
  2. Tucson
  3. Scranton
  4. Syracuse
  5. Rochester

They average 54 publicly accused child molesting clerics. Many factors influence these numbers, but any way you slice it, parents, parishioners, and the public in upstate New York have been exposed to a substantially higher percentage of predatory clergy than elsewhere. A list of them is at the end of this blog. Needless to say, in Albany, just like in virtually every Catholic institution or diocese, there are no doubt dozens more offenders who have yet to be identified.

But the most high-profile abusive Catholic official in the diocese is its former head, Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, who’s been in the news lately. He asked to be defrocked. The Vatican refused. He went ahead and got married. Weeks later, he passed away. We pass no judgment on his personal life; It’s his role as the top official in Albany for 37 years. How he dealt with child molesting clerics during those years is our focus.

When the nation’s church abuse scandal exploded into our collective consciousness in 2002, Hubbard was one of about a dozen US prelates who sat on the national bishops’ abuse committee. Two years later, in 2004, he was accused of paying a teenager for sex twice. He also faced allegations of sexual misconduct with adults. In 2019, Hubbard went on voluntary leave after being accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a 16-year-old.

Another lawsuit, filed later that year, charged Hubbard, along with Fr. Francis Melfe and Fr. Albert DelVecchio, for abusing a girl during poker games in a rectory. By 2021, Hubbard had been accused in at least seven child sex abuse lawsuits. The following year, a lawsuit said that Hubbard and convicted priest Gary Mercure sexually abused two young brothers.

And, as one would expect, he was also accused, in suit after suit after suit, dozens of lawsuits of concealing the crimes of a startling number of offenders who hurt children in his diocese. It’s hard to disbelieve all those allegations, in part because a bishop abusing his power and authority over vulnerable individuals isn’t very likely to ‘crack down’ on underlings who are doing the same.

The Diocese of Albany’s November 1, 2023 Deadline

There are about six weeks left until the November 1st deadline. That’s when anyone who was raped, molested, or sexually violated in any way by any current or former Albany Catholic employee must file a short ‘claim form’ to qualify for compensation. This is because the diocese is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy right now. That compensation will give no one his or her childhood back or erase the years of struggle any man or woman has endured after childhood sexual trauma.

But most victims who seek such compensation are, when the dust settles, glad that they did. Besides providing tangible help, money can also provide a sense of validation, closure, and satisfaction from facing one’s demons and holding one’s perpetrator accountable. So, if you were hurt in the Albany Diocese, no matter by whom or no matter how long ago it was, we at Horowitz Law encourage you to explore the ‘claim form’ process.

Here are the names of those publicly and/or credibly accused child molesting clerics in the Diocese of Albany:

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Albany in New York. The Diocese of Albany filed for federal bankruptcy protection in March 2023.  Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss your legal options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Albany Diocese.

Very strict filing deadlines have now been set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us now to discuss your case today.  Call us at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to [email protected].