A former New York bishop has died at 84. He promoted social justice, but covered up rape allegations

Aug 19, 2023, 11:31 AM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Howard Hubbard, a retired Catholic bishop who acknowledged covering up allegations of sexual abuse in his upstate New York diocese and recently married a woman in a civil ceremony, has died after suffering from a massive stroke. He was 84.

Hubbard passed away at Albany Medical Center on Saturday after being hospitalized for the stroke days prior, bishop spokesman Mark Behan confirmed.

Hubbard was known as a champion of social justice causes during his long tenure leading the Albany, New York-based diocese from 1977 to 2014. But his reputation suffered as the church became engulfed in sexual abuse scandals.

Hubbard had adamantly denied accusations that he abused minors. But he acknowledged in a 2021 deposition that he and the diocese covered up allegations of sexual abuse against children by priests in part to avoid scandal.

Last fall, Hubbard said he wanted to be returned to the lay state — leave the clergy — since he could no longer function as a priest due to a U.S. church policy that bars accused priests from ministry. He said his request to the Vatican was rejected in March and he was encouraged to wait while the seven civil lawsuits against him proceeded.

Instead, he announced earlier this month that he had recently married an unidentified woman.

“I could be 91 or 92 before these legal matters are concluded,” Hubbard said in a prepared release at the time. “In the meantime, I have fallen in love with a wonderful woman who has helped and cared for me and who believes in me.”

The current bishop of the upstate New York diocese, Edward Scharfenberger, said the church did not consider Hubbard’s marriage to be valid.

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against the Albany diocese under a state law that allowed people to sue over sexual abuse they say they endured as children, sometimes decades ago.

The diocese filed for bankruptcy this year amid the flood of lawsuits.

United States News

Associated Press

A New York collector pleads guilty to smuggling rare birdwing butterflies

NEW YORK (AP) — A Long Island man has pleaded guilty to illegally trafficking birdwing butterflies and other rare insects, according to a plea deal filed in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday. Charles Limmer, 75, of Commack, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to smuggle wildlife into the country and agreed to pay a $30,215 […]

36 minutes ago

Associated Press

A pregnant Amish woman is killed in her rural Pennsylvania home, and police have no suspects

SPARTANSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Investigators have no suspects in the killing of a pregnant 23-year-old Amish woman inside her home in rural northwestern Pennsylvania, and are appealing for tips from the public to help solve the crime, a state police spokeswoman said Wednesday. Rebekah A. Byler was the victim of a criminal homicide inside her […]

59 minutes ago

Associated Press

Police in suburban Chicago are sued over a fatal shooting of a man in his home

CHICAGO (AP) — The sisters of a man fatally shot in his home this month by suburban Chicago police filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the officers and their department, alleging wrongful death and other counts. Kyenna McConico and Kennetha Barnes, sisters of Isaac Goodlow III, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago […]

2 hours ago

Workers drive among shipping containers and trailers at a BNSF intermodal terminal, Jan. 3, 2024, i...

Associated Press

US economy grew solid 3.2% in fourth quarter, a slight downgrade from government’s initial estimate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a robust 3.2% annual pace from October through December, propelled by healthy consumer spending, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday in a slight downgrade from its initial estimate. The expansion in the nation’s gross domestic product — the economy’s total output of goods and services — slipped from […]

3 hours ago

FILE - Activists mark the first anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Wom...

Associated Press

About as many abortions are happening in the US monthly as before Roe was overturned, report finds

The number of abortions performed each month is about the same as before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the nationwide right to abortion more than a year and a half ago, a new report finds. The latest edition of the #WeCount report conducted for the Society of Family Planning, a nonprofit […]

3 hours ago

This undated photo shows oral historian Francine D. Spang-Willis, who is leading a project to creat...

Associated Press

Laurene Powell Jobs’ philanthropy seeks to strengthen communities with grants for local leaders

Francine Spang-Willis wishes the landscape of the Crazy Mountains near Livingston, Montana, could speak for itself. But absent that, the oral historian will launch a new project talking to people with a connection to the land. Spang-Willis is one of a dozen new fellows announced Wednesday by the Emerson Collective, Laurene Powell Jobs’ philanthropy. In […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

A former New York bishop has died at 84. He promoted social justice, but covered up rape allegations