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Statement of Bishop Emeritus Howard J.


In response to the allegations of sexual misconduct that have been made against me under the
Child Victims Act, I have stated before and I repeat that I have never sexually abused anyone of
any age at any time. I have chosen voluntarily to step aside from priestly ministry temporarily
because doing so is the right step at this time for the Church and for all involved. Our people,
indeed our entire community, must have confidence that our priests and church leaders, active
and retired, are living in accord with the highest standards that our sacred ministry requires.

I do not assert that the individuals who have accused me have not been abused. Surely, the
abuse they have described is horrific and heartbreaking. I pray daily that they will find healing,
justice and peace. However, I am absolutely certain that I was not their abuser nor ever
participated in their abuse. I will defend myself in the civil and canonical processes with every
fiber of my being.

The purpose of the Child Victims Act is to give those who were sexually abused as minors the
opportunity, at long last, to seek justice. During my 37 years of episcopal tenure as bishop in
the Diocese of Albany, I met with many survivors of abuse and heard firsthand the pain they
suffered at the time of the abuse and its consequences over the years. As Bishop I acted on
every complaint of sexual abuse I received and commissioned investigations of those
allegations. I removed offending priests and saw to it that appropriate assistance was provided
to survivors. In 2004 I established the Independent Mediation Assistance Program overseen by
a retired judge of the State Court of Appeals. The program independently investigated
allegations of abuse and provided meaningful assistance to survivors. I hope it helped those
who participated to achieve a measure of healing.

But I also know from first-hand experience about false claims such as the ones brought against
me personally in 2004. Those claims were thoroughly investigated by Mary Jo White, the former
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. After investigation, she and her staff
concluded that I was not guilty of these charges of sexual abuse and that any further allegations
in this regard should be met with “considerable skepticism and should be very carefully
scrutinized for their factual basis.”1

It is against this background, as well as the new canonical procedures established by the Vatican
for the investigation of sexual misconduct by bishops, that I place my trust, indeed, my whole
life and ministry as a priest and bishop. I am confident that through these fair due process
procedures truth and justice will prevail and I will be exonerated fully.

1 Debevoise and Plimpton, “The Report of the Independent Investigation,” June 24, 2004, Page 167.