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Diocese responds to press conference

May 21, 2019

Before we issue our statement below, we must first correct the record:

Mr. Anderson stated that Bishop Scharfenberger in November 2015 released our List of Clergy Offenders “under some pressure.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Bishop Scharfenberger was a staunch advocate of publishing names of credibly accused clergy – both living and deceased – ahead of almost all other dioceses and organizations in the country. You can read what Bishop Scharfenberger had to say on the release of names in his 2015 column on that subject: https://evangelist.org/Content/Bishop/Columns/Article/Toward-openness-and-healing/17/79/25427

Mr. Anderson also said the Diocese is “still adhering to secrecy.” Bishop Scharfenberger has been a national leader in bringing justice to survivors and has been on the cutting edge of efforts to engage directly with survivors to bring them not only justice but healing. 

Although we will not address every name on Mr. Anderson’s list, we can say that there are inaccuracies on the list, names on the list that have not been found credible, many religious order priests, over whom we do not have jurisdiction, and others who are not alleged to have abused in the Albany Diocese, including at least one who never served as a priest in the Albany Diocese.

Please see our full statement below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 21, 2019

Following is a statement by Mary DeTurris Poust, Director of Communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, in response to today’s Jeff Anderson press conference:

“We want to say first and foremost to the survivors who spoke today that we are inspired by their courage in coming forward and grateful for their willingness to bring light to situations that may have been in darkness for too long. Any time we hear survivors recount the horrors of sexual abuse, our hearts ache for them and their families, for childhoods stolen and for futures torn apart.

“Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany are committed to justice for those who have been sexually abused by priests and others in whom they put their trust.

“From the Independent Mediation Assistance Program launched in 2004, to the pro-active release of a list of clergy offenders in November 2015, to the recent establishment of a task force whose job is to support survivors and seek restorative justice on their behalf, the Bishop and the Diocese continue to strive to put survivors first and to emphasize transparency.

“Our first concern is for the survivors, and we stand ready to accompany them, support them, and assist them.

“Any claim received by the Diocese of Albany is immediately forwarded to the appropriate District Attorney and subsequently sent to the Diocesan Review Board for independent investigation. The Diocese of Albany urges all victims to report any instance of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy, its employees, or volunteers, to civil authorities and to contact the diocesan Assistance Coordinator at (518) 453-6646 or assistance.coordinator@rcda.org.”