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3 seek further inquiry into priest's actions (Albany Diocese)
Albany Times-Union ^ | March 18, 2004 | Mchelle Morgan Bolton

Posted on 03/18/2004 3:24:51 AM PST by sidewalk

Eleven days after the Rev. Louis Douglas was returned to ministry, three people came forward Wednesday and said they want the investigation reopened into sexual abuse allegations against the priest.

Timothy Sawicki of Schenectady and Pamela Brace and Marcia Preusser of Albany said in a letter made public Wednesday that their concerns about Douglas' sexual misconduct were not heard by the diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board that cleared him.

They asked that the panel meet with them to gather additional information that demonstrates Douglas "is a danger to children."

Attorney John Aretakis, who represents Sawicki, also released a statement from another client, who said he was sexually abused in 1972 and 1973 in the rectory of St. Clare's in Colonie by the Rev. Mark Haight.

Haight was previously permanently removed from ministry.

The man, who did not want his name made public, said he was an altar boy for Douglas and experienced inappropriate sexual behavior by the priest.

Sawicki, 44, has accused Douglas and other priests of sexually abusing him in a Schenectady rectory during the 1970s. He said the review board did not consult him when it recently dealt with the 74-year-old priest's case.

Brace and Preusser were among several parents at St. Catherine of Siena Church who met with Bishop Howard Hubbard in 1993 to alert him to their concerns about Douglas' sexually abusive behavior around young boys.

"Prudence requires that you reconsider your actions concerning Father Douglas, and you give all three of us the opportunity to further discuss the details of (his) dangerous actions," Sawicki, Brace and Preusser said in their letter.

Among other things, the women said Hubbard told them in 1993 that Douglas would be sent to a New Mexico sexual rehabilitation center.

On Wednesday, the diocese denied that Hubbard said that, but spokesman Kenneth Goldfarb would not say whether Douglas had received such treatment.

"If Father Douglas had sexually abused a minor, he would have already been removed from ministry" in accordance with the zero tolerance policy adopted by the U.S. Bishops Conference in 2002, the diocese said in a written statement.

In 1993, following concerns expressed by the parents of St. Catherine of Siena, Douglas retired and moved to Wilmington, Del.

He was suspended last year when Sawicki filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Schenectady, claiming that the Rev. Alan Jupin tried to intimidate him against filing a complaint of sexual abuse with the diocese. The suit also named Douglas and the Rev. Donald Ophals, saying he had rejected their sexual advances. The suit was dismissed in January, and Ophals was returned to his parish at St. Francis de Sales in Troy last week. Jupin's case is under review by the diocesan sexual misconduct board.

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events
KEYWORDS: abuse; albany; aretakis; catholic; douglas; hubbard; jupin; ophals

1 posted on 03/18/2004 3:24:52 AM PST by sidewalk
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To: sidewalk
And from the Troy Record (

Hubbard accused of cover-up
By: Robert Cristo

Just weeks after retired St. Catherine of Siena pastor Rev. Louis Douglas was cleared of sexual abuse charges, two outraged women with past ties to the Albany parish have alleged that Bishop Howard Hubbard admitted to them that Douglas watched two boys perform an indecent act in front of him in the 1960s.

Albany residents Marsha Preusser and Trisha Brace went public Wednesday with details of a meeting they had with Hubbard in 1993 about Douglas, who was recently cleared by the Albany Diocesan Review Board of all sexual abuse allegations with minors.

Both women claim Hubbard told them about an incident that occurred in the 1960s in which Douglas allegedly had two children undress and masturbate in front of him, but did not touch them.

The women had past ties to St. Catherine of Siena School and parish, but eventually pulled their children out and left the parish because of how the diocese handled the Douglas investigation in the 1990s. The women recently contacted local attorney John Aretakis to get their side of the story to the public.

The women also say Hubbard, who became bishop in the mid-'70s, "explained away" the incident by allegedly stating that Douglas did it to make the children feel more comfortable with their sexuality.

"I was appalled, and said to the bishop, 'since when is that an appropriate method of teaching?'" said Preusser, 51, a local real estate dealer. "Why do we let these priests get free passes at the victim's expense?"

The early '90s meeting with Hubbard was prompted by Douglas' sudden departure from St. Catherine in 1993, one year after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany launched an investigation into questions surrounding his alleged sexual past with young boys.

Preusser said Douglas told parishioners he was taking an "extended vacation," but never addressed the fact that he was under investigation for past sexual misconduct charges. Those charges have since beenfound baseless by the diocese.

"When we found out the true reason, we went to the bishop and told him for the sake of the children, everyone should have the right to know what's going on," said Preusser. "The bishop refused to do it. ... He said if any victims come forward we'll deal with it, but we're not going to make an announcement."

The women also said Hubbard told them Douglas was being sent to the now defunct Servants of Paraclete treatment facility for pedophilia in Mexico, and that he would never again be allowed around children.

"He went away under the false pretense of a health issue, but he was actually sent to a treatment facility and was supposed to never be placed back with children when he returned," said Brace, 48.

"Now, we find out he's in ministry part-time in Delaware, and that raised our concerns about children there."

Diocese spokesperson Ken Goldfarb admitted the meeting between the women and Hubbard did occur, but said their description of what happened was not accurate.

According to Goldfarb, Hubbard discussed what he called the "inaccurate rumors" that were spreading about the 1960s incident, but never told them that Douglas had the two boys disrobe in his presence.

Goldfarb further stated that if what the women were saying was true, it would have been considered sexual abuse.

"Bishop Hubbard did not make the statement attributed to him today," said a diocese release."

Goldfarb declined to say specifically what transpired in the "rumored" incident, but he did say it was investigated and "no sexual abuse took place."

"I'm not going into details of what happened," said Goldfarb.

Goldfarb also declined to answer questions about whether Douglas was ever sent to Mexico for psychological treatment related to pedophilia.

Two Diocesan Review Board investigations (1992 and 2002) found no proof of sexual abuse against Douglas.

However, the diocese did provide financial assistance and counseling to the families who lodged complaints.

Even though Douglas was cleared by the Albany Diocese, he continues to be suspended from his part-time ministry by the Diocese of Wilmington. The women who came forward Wednesday are also asking the Albany Diocese Sexual Misconduct Panel to both interview them and re-open the investigation into Douglas.

Aretakis, the attorney the women approached to assist, represents about 85 clients who claim to have been abused by a member of the clergy.

Douglas and Rev. Donald Ophals, pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Troy, were each cleared of any sexual abuse allegations almost two weeks ago.

At that time, Hubbard also removed Rev. Robert Shinos, pastor of the St. Anthony-St. Joseph parish in Herkimer, for sexual abuse charges stemming from more than 30 years ago.
2 posted on 03/18/2004 3:29:37 AM PST by sidewalk
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To: sidewalk

3 posted on 03/18/2004 4:35:11 AM PST by AAABEST (<a href="">Traditional Catholicism is Back and Growing</a>)
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To: sidewalk; american colleen; sinkspur; Lady In Blue; Salvation; CAtholic Family Association; ...
Deny, deny, deny! Hubbard must think that if he repeats this mantra, then it must be true.
4 posted on 03/18/2004 6:11:36 AM PST by NYer (Ad Jesum per Mariam)
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To: NYer; sidewalk; Renlea
Bump and ping
5 posted on 03/18/2004 6:22:51 AM PST by Siobhan (+Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet+)
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To: Polycarp IV
6 posted on 03/18/2004 6:23:37 AM PST by Siobhan (+Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet+)
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To: Siobhan
when is this all going to end??

this is just making me so frustrated!
7 posted on 03/18/2004 7:20:14 AM PST by Renlea
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To: NYer
"The women also say Hubbard, who became bishop in the mid-'70s, "explained away" the incident by allegedly stating that Douglas did it to make the children feel more comfortable with their sexuality. "

If this is true, he should be run out of town on a rail.
8 posted on 03/18/2004 9:15:24 AM PST by Deo volente (God willing, Terri Schiavo will live.)
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To: NYer
What we need is somebody in charge, you know? Somebody that had the power to get rid of these guys. Like a head of the Church or something. We should get together and demand it from the hierarchy. We could call the office----the papacy. Yeah. That might work.
9 posted on 03/18/2004 9:38:57 AM PST by sydney smith
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To: sidewalk
Bumpus ad summum
10 posted on 03/19/2004 2:23:06 AM PST by Dajjal
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To: sydney smith; Renlea; Deo volente; Diago; NYer; saradippity
#7 "this is just making me so frustrated"
#8 "he should be run out of town on a rail"
#9 "what we need is somebody in charge"

I'm sorry that I am being such a pest, But it would be a sin of omission if I did not say that:

Stephen Brady cannot move to Albany, Cleveland, LA, Altoona or any other diocese to do the daily/weekly work that needs to be done. The only person available to do what needs to be done is YOU, not someone else, not the Pope, it is you, personally. You are the only person that you can count on to do the hard work that needs to be done. I'm sorry but that is the way it is. A fact of life AND a new avenue for spiritual growth. Thank God for the opportunity to be of service to Him. Answer His call to service!

If you respond, you will grow in Faith.

Stop observing from afar... Dear God how can i be of service to You.
I pray, how can i live my Catholic Faith more fully?
.. Do God's work. ..the work that cries out to Heaven to be done... Stated as simple as that.
Dear God help us to have the courage to what it takes to do Your Will. ... Prayerful action.

God's work is not a spectator sport. Visitors do not come into your midst to provide entertainment or a moment of diversion. Respond to the call. Yes, you, dear reader, you.

Go out into the backyard, dig up that buried talent, dust it off, and start using it as God expects of you.

Just in case, if you are not now in the state of Grace, STOP, go to confession to a priest who loves Jesus and the Magisterium, truly. Go see the Passion again. Now you are ready to get started and be more effective in what you do.

Brady visited Phoenix once (the local parish pastor a fit), we got names and phone numbers, and then we GOT STARTED in God's work. Prayer inspired action! It took a few years. It was worth it.
We love you Bishop Olmsted! Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for the Latin Mass. I lack adequate words of gratitude and truly do not yet appreciate just how much we have been blessed. We have yet to recover from the effects of the spiritual oppression of O'Brien. His followers are for a while still in place and power. That too shall pass, if it be the Will of God.
We are actively working on it, and it shall be accomplished, if it is Thy Will.
Lavender Mafia, be gone! REPENT, confess, go away.!

Yes, you need local help and encouragement, I know that I do. One good source of help is right here on FreeRepublic but not everybody who feels as you do are lurking or participating here.
Another source is everyone you come in contact with in your daily life, but if you don't like to talk about your faith to strangers then that method might not be very productive. You can work at that, God wants you to. That is where most people are. God loves strangers too as well as you. Always have some holy cards handy to give away. Also have a wholesome sense of humor, give it away too.

It seems hard to believe but you will find out quickly that regardless of your efforts that only a few people will respond. Don't give up, Offer it up. You will come to realize that only your best spiritual friends will be available most of the time to go where you know that you must. Have courage, pray for the strength necessary to do what needs to be done.

You really need only one other person (as a witness) to get started, even though more is better. But these problems need to be fixed now to bring spiritual relief to your fellow Catholics and indeed everyone in your diocese. Yes your efforts to get rid of a bad bishop will help everyone, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. If only each Catholic would do and vote as a Catholic ought to, what a change that would make to your/my diocese and to the USA.

At this moment in time Mother Angelica is leading the rosary on EWTN. We love you Mother Angelica. We pray for you, please pray for us, your family, we know you do.

In so far as possible, Pray Always, every minute.
Especially if you are retired or have lots of "spare" time.
Fr Dubay of EWTN has a good recommendation for the best use of "leisure" time.

In Albany when Stephen Brady visited and there were many people in the room, how many names and phone numbers did YOU get? Did you meet and start to develop new friendships in common service in the Lord's work? Always have a pocket full of blank 3x5 cards, generic business cards is what they are. Make notes, exchange information. The core group should have been established right then and there at the news conference.
If you missed the opportunity to form a group at that news conference, then find a reason to have another news conference, and use this page or a modification thereof as a handout. Select, copy, paste, edit.

Meet, pray the rosary together, practice singing, plan, make signs, make handouts, and go wherever the bad bishop goes. Be at as many events as possible with your friends, signs, handouts, camera, and rosary. On the public sidewalk move back and forth, sing aloud, pray aloud, and wave in a friendly manner to both the positive and the negative responses. Say God bless you to any passers by.

Why do people put up with bad bishops, priests, and religious? Beats me, are they scared? Do they pray enough? What are they afraid of?
John Paul the Great tells us: BE NOT AFRAID. Hear him, please, hear him.

I am frustrated that you choose to remain merely frustrated. grrr_;^)

Dear God, have Mercy on us all.
11 posted on 03/19/2004 7:49:11 AM PST by Phx_RC (Don't just gripe about it -- do something about it-- prayerful public action.)
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To: Phx_RC; sydney smith; sandyeggo
You have made some very good points Phx_RC,and since you are a male,maybe Sidney will consider what you have said.
12 posted on 03/19/2004 9:42:25 AM PST by saradippity
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: saradippity
Stop those sexist remarks young lady!
14 posted on 03/19/2004 2:11:50 PM PST by sydney smith
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To: sandyeggo
And please, everyone, pray for all of us who stumble and fall as we try to be what God put us on this earth to be. Christ fell during His Passion, so will we all. It's incredibly hard to change, but do it we must.
15 posted on 03/19/2004 2:12:26 PM PST by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: Phx_RC
Thank God for the opportunity to be of service to Him. Answer His call to service!

If you respond, you will grow in Faith. ....

God's work is not a spectator sport. Visitors do not come into your midst to provide entertainment or a moment of diversion. Respond to the call. Yes, you, dear reader, you.

Go out into the backyard, dig up that buried talent, dust it off, and start using it as God expects of you.

Thank you dear soul, Phx_RC.  Sandyeggo, I hope you know how much I appreciate your ping. God bless!
16 posted on 03/19/2004 4:14:59 PM PST by GirlShortstop
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