Friday, May 1, 2015

Catholic Nuns and Priests murdered and tortured children: are you listening Pope Francis? Part IV. No Justice in New York. A five part weekly series on catholic church crimes

Bishop Howard Hubbard, Albany, NY Diocese
Why do investigations of murdered children go nowhere in New York? Answer: Bishops and District Attorneys

We have evidence, witnesses, and articles in the press – yet there is no justice for Gilbert, for me and my brother Frankie, for all the other children tortured and murdered. Why?  Because catholic church hierarchy – like bishop Howard Hubbard -- ignore, refuse to cooperate, cover up for priests that rape children and are themselves suspects in cases of child abuse, homosexuality and abuse of power.

Hubbard uses church funds to avoid homosexual label

There were longstanding rumors, protests and accusations of sexual misconduct and homosexual relationships between Bishop Hubbard and minors for many years -- but he was not removed from office – only his reputation suffered. Then in 2004, so-called “independent investigators” paid for by the Albany Diocese (by Hubbard) cleared Hubbard of allegations of sexual misconduct. What did Hubbard do?  The reporter who told the story, Michelle Bolton at the Albany Times Union lost her job -- she told Bob that she would, but she ran it anyway.

On Feb. 15, 2004, 57 year old Rev. John Minkler's body was found by his sister on the kitchen floor of his Watervliet apartment, lying face down on a blanket. An unidentified bottle of prescription drugs was found by Minkler's side, along with a suicide note. Albany County Coroner Herman Thomas would not say what the autopsy reports specifically showed; saying only that it was a suicide.

Three days before his death, Minkler was identified in a television news report as the author of a 1995 letter to then New York Archbishop John O'Connor detailing "a ring of homosexual Albany priests" including Bishop Howard Hubbard’s alleged long-term homosexual relationships with two younger priests.

Minkler died two days after he signed a statement for the Albany Diocese saying he was not the author of the letter. The letter also included a description of many other local priests said to have had homosexual relations with adults and children.

The day after Minkler's death Hubbard said that Minkler came of his own free will – “… he told me that he did not author the letter, and he wanted to be with me face-to-face and to assure me that he had not written anything to Cardinal O’Connor about me…and he did not know how his name got associated with the letter."

Stephen Brady, head of the Illinois-based Roman Catholic Faithful, contradicted Hubbard and said Minkler had been working with his lay group for at least three years in order to document homosexual misconduct and abuse among Albany priests, including Hubbard. Brady told Albany’s Times-Union that the priest left him a voice mail message asking for advice the day before his death.

Brady said that Minkler authored the 1995 letter and sent him a copy of it in 2001.
Paul Likoudis, news editor for The Wanderer, said Minkler called him shortly after signing the affidavit and said that contrary to Hubbard’s claim, he was summoned to sign it. Likoudis said Minkler explained that the affidavit was already made out and he was told to sign it.

In an hour long phone conversation with Fr. Joseph F. Wilson of the Diocese of Brooklyn that same evening Minkler told him: "the bishop made me lie." Wilson said Minkler wanted advice on how to smooth things over with his bishop and told him he had talked with at least one other priest and a lay canon lawyer for more advice that same evening. "Not exactly the actions of a man who’s planning to commit suicide," said Fr. Wilson.

Likoudis also said that Minkler, was a former secretary to Cardinal O’Connor and was asked by him to prepare a report of clerical corruption in the Albany diocese because O’Connor was trying to remove Hubbard. Likoudis told a crowd of 500 Roman Catholic Faithful a week after Minkler’s death that for 13 years Minkler had been a trusted source of inside information in the Diocese of Albany.

Minkler wasn’t the first priest associated with Roman Catholic Faithful to die under mysterious circumstances. In 1998 Fr. Alfred Kunz, an accomplished canon lawyer helping expose homosexual corruption in the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois was murdered at his rural Wisconsin parish. His throat was slit by a razor blade, and he bled to death before his body was discovered the next morning. Although the subject of one of the most extensive FBI investigations in Wisconsin history, the murder of Fr. Kunz remains a mystery. Less than two years after his death Springfield’s Bishop Daniel Ryan resigned after Frank Bergen, a former male prostitute, identified the bishop as one of his regular high-paying clients for 11 years, going so far as to describe in detail the bishop’s private residence. Bishop Ryan, like Hubbard, persistently denied that charge and others for years.

Regarding Minkler’s death, "We don't accept the findings of the coroner," said Phillip Kiernan, who headed the Coalition of Concerned Catholics of the Albany Diocese, a conservative group that has taken Hubbard to task for the ills of his diocese. "I'm a traditional Catholic, but this has a smell to it," Kiernan said. "Father Minkler had heart and stomach ailments. But now I'm beginning to wonder, because this looks like a cover-up."

It did look suspicious: the coroner confirmed the suicide by telephone from his home after he was called by a reporter but made no official statement on the case. The
Albany County District Attorney Paul Clyne was also called at home but said he was not aware of the autopsy results. Why didn’t the coroner tell the district attorney? Why did the toxicology results take two months after Minkler’s death?

Fr. Wilson who had spoken to Minkler after signing the "disclaimer" said he was interviewed by two private investigators working for Mary Jo White, the lawyer hired to investigate Howard Hubbard (see below). They told Wilson, "Well, we've interviewed a number of people who spoke to Father Minkler from Friday afternoon to Saturday night, and they all say what you're telling us: he was in good spirits, none of them were concerned for his state of mind. So between, say, 9:30 PM Saturday and early Sunday morning, something happened to change things."       

Victims’ rights advocates have criticized Bishop Hubbard for his opposition to the U.S. bishops "zero tolerance" policy adopted by the national conference in 2002. That policy states that any priest who has had sexual contact with a child—even if only once—be removed from ministry immediately and permanently. Bishop Hubbard defended his stance in the name of "compassion and forgiveness" for first time offenders. So is it his policy to allow one child to be raped for each priest rapist?

Many Catholics in the Diocese of Albany and beyond have also been critical of Bishop Hubbard for further reasons, not the least of which is promotion of a homosexualist agenda within the Catholic Church. For example, in 1991 the bishop defended his practice of ordaining known homosexual priests, telling the Times Union: "I believe the Church has a responsibility to all its members…I don’t think gays or anybody else should be excluded from the ministry. [What about murders or child rapists?]  Indeed, I think we have a responsibility to reach out to them with sensitivity and compassion" (Feb. 22, 1991).

How did bishop Hubbard, with a reputation for defying church policy, advocating for homosexuals in the church and ignoring the pleas of families with tortured and murdered children get to keep his position until 2014 when he retired?  He did it with damage control and friends in high places. We will see how high his influence went in Part V of this series next week.