Catholic Bishop Howard J. Hubbard  pedophiles move priests
© AP Photo/Jim McKnight/File
Former Catholic Bishop Howard J. Hubbard claims priests accused of sexual misconduct would go through "counseling and treatment," before returning to duty.
A former Catholic bishop admitted that the Archdiocese of Albany covertly moved around priests accused of sexual misconduct before reintroducing them back into the ministry.

Howard J. Hubbard, who headed the diocese from 1977 to 2014, said it was common practice in the 1970s and 1980s to temporarily remove accused priests, send them for supposed rehabilitation — then put them back on the job.

Hubbard said that he regrets the "flawed" system.

"When an allegation of sexual misconduct against a priest was received in the 1970s and 1980s, the common practice in the Albany diocese and elsewhere was to remove the priest from ministry temporarily and send him for counseling and treatment," Hubbard said in a statement through his attorney to The Times Union.

"Only when a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist determined the priest was capable of returning to ministry without reoffending did we consider placing the priest back in ministry. The professional advice we received was well-intended but flawed, and I deeply regret that we followed it."

Roughly 300 Child Victims Act Lawsuits have been filed against the diocese, The Times Union reported.

The Time Union said that Hubbard's attorney has since disputed that the former bishop's statements amount to a coverup.

Bishop Hubbard has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct seven times since 2019. Just this past March, Hubbard was accused of molesting an 11-year-old boy at a carnival more than 40 years ago.

Hubbard denied that allegation in a statement to The Post in March, saying, "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."

Diocese Spokeswoman Mary DeTurris Poust said that the diocese remains "committed to uncovering the truth" in a statement to The Times Union.

"Our first concern is for survivors," the spokeswoman said. "We stand ready to accompany them, support them, and assist them, and we commend them for their bravery in coming forward."