A 55-year-old South Carolina man has accused former Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of raping him while he served as a young altar boy in an Albany Catholic church in the mid-1970s, the latest in a string of lawsuits accusing the former longtime bishop of child sexual abuse.
The latest claims come in a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed in Albany County court Monday by Charles Carr which alleged Hubbard repeatedly abused him when he was an altar boy at St. James Church in Albany between 9- and 11-years-old, abuse that allegedly included instances of anal rape.
Carr accused Hubbard of multiple instances of abuse.
When Carr was around 10, according to the complaint, he joined a church trip to West Point. During the trip Carr felt sick, so he and Hubbard went back to the bus, where Hubbard allegedly sexually assaulted him.
“Hubbard sexually assaulted plaintiff, molesting him, including penetration,” the complaint alleged.
That wasn’t the only abuse Carr suffered at the hands of Hubbard, according to the complaint. While Carr served as an altar boy at St. James Church in Albany between 1974 and 1976, Hubbard would have Carr bring him brandy from a wet bar located behind the altar; during some of those encounters, Hubbard touched Carr inappropriately and ultimately raped him, according to the complaint.
Carr, who also names the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany in the suit, accused the church of failing to protect him from child abusers working within the church and cited the long-lasting effects of the alleged abuse he has suffered during his life. Carr also outlined alleged sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a second priest, Rev. Cabell Marbury, who allegedly molested him on multiple occasions between 1974 and 1976.
“Due to this abuse of plaintiff by defendant Hubbard, plaintiff suffered chronic mental health issues including depression, post-traumatic stress, impulse control, anti-social disorder, emotional distress and anxiety, which have required and/or will require counseling and other treatment,” according to the complaint.
In the suit, Carr is seeking damages to cover the mental anguish he has suffered, medical costs, lost wages, attorney’s fees and other punitive damages. He is represented in the suit by attorneys at New York City-based Seeger Weiss and Philadelphia-based Williams Cedar law firms.
“We cannot comment on individual cases that are in litigation,” said Mary DeTurris Poust, the director of communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, in an emailed response. “However, the Diocese of Albany remains focused on survivors, intent on making sure the truth comes out in every case that has been filed. As always, we urge anyone who has been abused to contact local law enforcement and our diocesan Assistance Coordinator,” she added.
Hubbard, and scores of other former clergy across the state, have been named in a spate of Child Victims Act lawsuits filed over the past year. While Hubbard has been named in at least four other suits filed in the past year, he has maintained his innocence as he has stepped back from his ministry role.
Last August, Hubbard, who led the diocese for over 35 years, was accused of abusing a teenager as recently as the 1990s. When that suit was filed, Hubbard in a statement denied ever abusing anyone.
“With full and complete confidence, I can say this allegation is false,” Hubbard said in a statement at the time. “I have never sexually abused anyone in my life.”
Other allegations date to prior to the Child Victims Act opening the door to a flood of lawsuits. In 2004, he was accused of having a homosexual relationship with a man who committed suicide in 1978. Hubbard denied this, and the diocese hired a former federal prosecutor to investigate the charge. After an investigation that stretched four months and cost the diocese $2.2 million, former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White reported she found no credible evidence that Hubbard had inappropriate sexual relations or had led a homosexual lifestyle or broken his vows of celibacy.
Hubbard became the nation’s youngest Catholic bishop at age 38 in 1977 and became bishop emeritus in 2014, after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75. Hubbard last August, around the time the new allegations started to surface in lawsuits, stepped away from public ministry, noting it was the “right thing to do” to assure the broader community that church leaders “are living in accord with the highest standards that our sacred ministry requires.”