Fr.

John
Bertolucci

“Living a Life of Penance”



On Facebook
The story of failed Catholic Evangelist Fr. John Patrick Bertolucci appears to have gone missing
from the internet except for articles archived on bishopaccountability.org. Fr. John’s fame arose through
Catholic Charismatic Renewal, where his famous basso voice boomed through many a convention hall and
tent. In 2010 this writer was quite shocked to discover Fr. John’s forced retirement during a review of
bishopaccountability.org.
In the early 1980s Fr. Bertolucci would ask for and receive reassignment to Franciscan University
of Steubenville. There he would become a member of the Sword of the Spirit Covenant Community
(Servants of Christ the King) and teach at the Fr.anciscan University. He was a member of the outreach
F.I.R.E. (Faith, Intercession, Repenetance and Evangelism) from Franciscan University. His picture is
included in the 1987 Community directory
1
pages 5 (seated with Senior Head Coordinator, Sword of the
Spirit Council Member and Franciscan University President Fr. Michael Scanlan TOR) and page 7 with the
regular membership.
In 2002 the National Conference of Catholic Bishops would enact a “zero tolerance” rule that
would force the sudden resignation of Fr. Bertolucci. Bishop Howard Hubbard of the Diocese of Albany –
Fr John’s own Bishop- would be the most forceful opponent of ‘zero tolerance.’ When the no tolerance
rule was voted in Fr. John chose retirement to a, “life of Pennance” rather than laicization, as this
enabled him to keep his pension. He retired to his deceased mother’s home in Catskill, NY.
In May 2012 Fr. John’s activities came into discussion on a Facebook page for alumni of Franciscan
University. This is an “unofficial” site that was not censored by University officials. It was discovered at
that time that Fr. John had a profile on Facebook.
What follows are public news articles, interviews and a chronology of Fr John’s official placements
by the Catholic Church. All of this information has been taken from BishopAccountability.org, a site that
tracks the history and activity of Priests accused of abuse. In 2010 some of the articles were still
available from their official newspaper sources. Today unfortunately that is no longer the case.
The final article says that Fr. John was “cleared” of allegations of sex abuse. This investigation was
undertaken by the Diocese of Albany -Bishop Hubbard- and was completed by former law enforcement
personnel who answered to Bishop Hubbard and not any legal body or civil authority.
Fr. John Bertolucci has never been cleared by any standing legal court of law -civil or criminal-
under state or federal jurisdiction. He has never been tried by a jury of his peers. He is -by his own
decision to retire due to the “zero tolerance” rule- and un-convicted sex offender who has escaped
prosecution by the expiration of the statute of limitations reguarding his criminal activities.
While his brother priests accused of the same offense languish in prisons throughout the United
States, Fr. John Bertolucci leads a different lifestyle as indicated in the picture taken from his public
Facebook profile on the cover of this document.
2

John Flaherty, Grand Island NE December 11, 2012

1
http://www.scribd.com/doc/98035041
2
His profile was removed from Facebook shortly after his comments became known publicly. This writer has copies of his Facebook
page and his comments on the unofficial alumni page that are not published within this document.
John Patrick Joseph Bertolucci Where did the
University fail ? Here you are failing to hate the
sin but love the sinner. Here you are thinking
that a newspaper article of ten years ago was
accurate. Here you are placing a label on me that
is psychosexually incorrect. (I am a therapist as
well as a clergyman). Here you are thinking that
you are capable of walking in my shoes and
knowing what I have suffered. Herer you are
thinking that I have no compassion for anyone I
may have scandalized. Thinking I have no
remorse for my sins. Here you are placing labels
upon me and implying I cannot or did not change
interiorly thans to my life in Steubenville. I
wonder how many of you would want your
sexual practices exposed in the media. You call
me "narcisstic" and think you can psychoanalyze
me. I call you sharing in the "accuser of the
brethren". And if you read Revelation "he has
been cast down". What sin are you guilty of with
such detraction, calumny, gossip and jusgement
of me. I have not left the priesthood...let us get
that straight. The highlight of my day is offering
"the Supper of the Lamb". And if you have ever
been one of my students knnow you are
remembered daily. Now I shall add this group on
facebook for you do not give good Christian
witness as you pass judgement on me and
beliieve everything you read. Talk to me face to
face. I am listed in the phone book in Catskill,
New York.


Posted May 14, 2012

Basic Information
About
John
Servant of the Lord of the
Household of Faith
Servant of the Household of the
Lord
Pneumapsychotherapist
Spiritual Coach
Teacher from fifth grade thru
graduate school
Holder of two Masters Degrees
(Ediucation & Counseling) and
Honorary Doctorate
Evangelist
Intercessor
Born and raised in Catsill, New
York; left at 16; came back at 68
for retirement
Retired publicly; active privately


https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=537586602
Thirteen articles that include information on Fr. John Bertolucci and his “sexual practices.”


BishopAccountability.org



Diocese Removes Six Priests Sexual Abuse Histories Cited

By Andrew Tilghman
Times Union [Albany, NY]
June 29, 2002

Albany The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany on Friday permanently
removed six priests who church leaders said had sexually abused minors at
least once, sending shock waves through the community and bringing the six-
month nationwide scandal home to several Capital Region parishes.

The group of priests removed included two former vice chancellors of the
Albany diocese, three who had worked at Catholic schools and a former Boy
Scouts chaplain. One of the priests removed, the Rev. John Bertolucci, was a
prominent Catholic theologian who had a nationally syndicated television
program in the 1980s.

Bishop Howard J. Hubbard said in each case the abuse occurred more than 15
years ago and no repeat offenses have ever been alleged. The removals bring
the Albany diocese into compliance with the policy adopted June 16 by the
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, banning all priests with any known
history of sexually abusing minors from working in the church.

The men removed are: the Rev. John Patrick Bertolucci, 64, who retired this
year and lives in Catskill; the Rev. Joseph A. Mancuso, 60, pastor of Our Lady
of Mount Carmel in Schenectady; the Rev. Edward C. Pratt, 58, pastor of
Corpus Christi in Halfmoon; the Rev. James J. Rosch, 55, pastor of St. Joseph's
in Fort Edward; the Rev. Edward Leroux, 72, who is retired and until this
week lived at St. Mary's in Glens Falls; and the Rev. David G. Bentley, 60, who
was removed from the ministry in April.

Hubbard said he was "deeply saddened that these priests, who repented of
their sins many years ago and showed that repentance by decades of holy and
productive ministry, will never be able to function as priests again. It is a
considerable loss to the diocese and to many parishioners."


"I hope the loss will be outweighed by the restoration of trust," the bishop
said.

During the national bishops' conference this month, Hubbard was one of the
only church leaders to voice strong opposition to the zero-tolerance policy.
But on Friday he said the measure was "reasonable, given the overriding
necessity of restoring the credibility of the church and people's confidence in
their priests."

The announcement brings the number of Albany diocesan priests known to
have abused children during the past 25 years to 11. In the cases of Bentley,
Bertolucci, Leroux and Rosch, Hubbard knew about their histories of abuse in
February when he stated publicly that the number of pedophile priests in the
diocese was nine.

In two other cases, involving Mancuso and Pratt, victims came forward only
in recent months following the spate of publicity concerning sexual abuse in
the church. After investigating the claims, Hubbard said Friday, he decided to
"make this painful announcement and move forward."

The priests' removal follows the church's acknowledgment this week that it
paid a total of $2.3 million in 11 confidential settlement agreements with
victims of abuse over the 25-year period, including a nearly $1 million
payment to a single victim in 1997. That payment involved allegations against
the Rev. Mark Haight, who was removed from the ministry in 1996.

Replacement pastors will be announced this weekend in the three churches
where the priests were on active assignment. The diocese also plans to send a
representative along with counselors to Masses at these churches where they
will try to calm angry parishioners and field questions such as how parents
can discuss the matter with children, church officials said.

Four priests who were living in church housing -- Mancuso, Pratt, Rosch and
Leroux -- were forced to leave earlier this week and are now staying with
friends or family, the Rev. Kenneth Doyle, a church spokesman, said Friday.

In the coming weeks, they will decide whether to live an entirely secular life
or to move into a monastery setting for "a life of prayer and penance" where
they would be prohibited from any contact with parishioners, celebrating
Mass publicly, wearing clerical garb or presenting themselves publicly as a
priest, church officials said.

There are no plans to defrock the priests, the formal process by canon law
that strips the priests of their official ties to the Roman Catholic church.

None of the cases will result in criminal prosecutions because they occurred
beyond the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions, which runs out
when a victim turns 23.

Word of the announcement spread quickly Friday afternoon throughout the
14-county diocese, which has 200 active priests and serves more than
400,000 parishioners.

Those at St. Mary's Church in Glens Falls were outraged to learn that three
known pedophiles have been connected to their church over the years.
Leroux was in residence there in recent months, Haight lived there for six
years before his removal in 1996 and Pratt once taught at St. Mary's Regional
Catholic School.

"I think it's disgusting. This must be like the diocese's Siberia, they just drop
them here," said Annette Crawford, a St. Mary's parishioner for nearly 20
years. "Obviously they must look at Warren County and St. Mary's as being in
the farthest reaches of the diocese and they don't care."

Elsewhere, one woman who asked to remain anonymous said Bertolucci's
videotapes influenced her decision to convert at a late age from
Presbyterianism to Catholicism in 1995.

"It's hard for me to believe," she said about Bertolucci's past. "I realize
ministers and priests are human beings like the rest of us, and we all have
temptations. But I feel sorry for all the trouble this is causing everyone, the
abused people and the priests."

Stephen Dombroski, 70, of Latham, who was hurrying into St. Ambrose
Church with a prayer book in hand for a noon Mass, recalled Bertolucci's
many years at the church and said he was in total disbelief.

"He acted like a saint in all of his dealings," Dombroski said. "The way he
blessed things gave you a very good feeling, like it was coming from heaven."

In the Halfmoon hamlet of Ushers, one of Pratt's parishioners at Corpus
Christi recalled him as "a good pastor and a very competent administrator."
"He would be the last one I would suspect," said church member Bob
Southworth.

In the small Warren County village of Fort Edward, members of St. Joseph's
Church learned that their past two pastors were known pedophiles.

"I heard the news through a neighbor who called me," said 75-year-old
Charles Mullen, a lifelong member of the parish that now has a congregation
of 700 people. "This community is quite devoted to the church. I know that
this is just going to devastate a lot of people"

In the mid-1970s, both Pratt and Bentley were administrators at Vincentian
Institute, a Catholic high school in Albany.

Doyle said the apparent placement of pedophile priests in the same setting
was a "coincidence."

Rosch was a chaplain for the Boy Scouts program in the early 1980s.

Bertolucci emerged as a national leader spiritual leader of the Catholic
Charismatic Renewal, part of a movement that took off in the church in the
late 1960s.

Dioceses throughout the country were taking similar measures this week as
church leaders began to implement the new policy adopted in Dallas.

On Long Island, the Rockville Centre diocese announced Thursday that five
priests with histories of sexual abuse will retire this year. Earlier this week,
the Archdiocese of Chicago announced the removal of eight priests. In San
Jose, Calif., two priests were removed this week.

Nationwide, more than 200 priests were taken out of their posts this year in
the months leading up to the Dallas conference.

Many people wondered whether the new policy and the latest disclosures
would end the sexual abuse crisis that has roiled the church since public
revelations about widespread clergy abuse in Boston in January.

"Frankly I don't see it as the beginning of the end, except to be the beginning
of the end of a culture of secrecy," said John Dwyer, a professor of theology at
St. Bernard's Graduate School of Theology and Ministry, an academic arm of
the Albany diocese.

"It looks as though the more that comes out, the more people come forward,"
he said.

Like many others, Dwyer noted the new church policy made no mention of
bishops, like Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, who reassigned priests with
the knowledge they had abused, in some cases, hundreds of children.

"We are in a very funny situation here, where the priests who are involved
are stripped of everything that gave their lives meaning and direction, and
the bishops involved in the coverup -- and I'm thinking mainly of Cardinal
Law -- all they have to do is say, 'I'm sorry.' "

Hubbard has said that dealing with the victims of sexual abuse has been the
most difficult part of his ministry. "My deepest sympathy of all is reserved for
the victims of sexual abuse. I have listened to their anguish, wept with them,
felt their sense of betrayal and helplessness, tried to reach out with whatever
healing I could offer."

David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused
by Priests, a Chicago-based victim's advocacy group, applauded the Albany
bishop's public announcement.

"I am at least glad that Hubbard is naming names. Ultimately that will protect
children," Clohessy said, noting that some bishops are not announcing the
removal of priests.

At the Dallas conference, Clohessy and Hubbard voiced opposing views on the
question of zero tolerance and the removal of all priests with even a single
incident of sexual abuse, which Hubbard called "simplistic" and out of step
with the Christian principle of forgiveness.

"Removing these men has nothing to do with forgiveness," Clohessy said.
"Look at the behavior of the Pope; he went and visited in prison the man who
tried to assassinate him, but he didn't unlock the door to let him out." Staff
writers Erika Groff and Kenneth C. Crowe II contributed to this report.

FACTS:REMOVED FROM MINISTRY Six priests from the Albany Roman
Catholic Diocese were permanently removed from the ministry Friday: The
Rev. David G. Bentley, 60 Ordained in 1975.Removed from his ministry in
New Mexico in April.Former principal at Vincentian Institute and head of the
religion department at Cardinal McCloskey High School in the 1970s. He also
served as an associate pastor at St. Bridget's in Copake Falls in Columbia
County and Albany's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and as a
chaplain at St. Peter's Hospital. He also worked in Africa, Ohio and, most
recently, at a parish in New Mexico.The Rev. John Patrick Bertolucci,
64Ordained in 1965.Retired earlier this year.A former vice chancellor of the
Albany diocese and prominent member of the group called Charismatic
Catholics. In the 1980s, he produced a nationally syndicated television
program and was praised as a "Catholic Pat Robertson." He was also a
schoolteacher who served on the faculty of St. John's school in Rensselaer,
and Maria College. He was chaplain at the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse at
LaSalle School in Albany and at Greene County Community College. Bertolucci
was associate pastor at St. Ambrose parish in Latham and moved to the St.
Anthony of Padua Friary in Catskill in 2001.The Rev. Edward Leroux, 72
Ordained in 1956.Retired in 1996, forced to leave his residence this week at
St. Mary's in Glens Falls. Leroux served as an associate pastor at Our Lady of
Victory in Troy, St. Mary's in Gloversville, St. Joseph's in Cohoes and St.
Madeleine Sophie in Guilderland; as administrator at Sacred Heart in
Stamford and as pastor at Sacred Heart in Cohoes, Sacred Heart in Berlin and
St. Joseph's, Fort Edward. Upon his retirement in 1996 he continued to live at
St. Joseph's in Fort Edward. In January 2001 he moved to St. Mary's in Glens
Falls.The Rev. Joseph A Mancuso, 60Ordained in 1970. Removed this week as
head pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Schenectady.Mancuso served as
associate pastor at Holy Spirit in East Greenbush and at St. Patrick's in
Ravena. Since 1970, he has been stationed at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as
associate pastor until 1979 and as pastor since 1979.The Rev. Edward C.
Pratt, 58Ordained in 1972. Removed this week as pastor of Corpus Christi in
Halfmoon.A Vietnam veteran, Pratt had served as vice chancellor for the
Albany diocese. He was assistant principal at Vincentian Institute, principal at
St. Mary's Regional Catholic School in Glens Falls and chaplain at Adirondack
Community College. He served as associate pastor at St. Mary's in Glens Falls,
Immaculate Conception in Glenville and as pastor at Immaculate Heart of
Mary in Hudson Falls.The Rev. James J. Rosch, 55Ordained in 1972.Removed
this week as pastor of St. Joseph's in Fort Edward.A former Boy Scout leader,
he served as associate pastor at St. Joseph's in Scotia, Our Lady of Mount
Carmel in Gloversville, St. Paul the Apostle in Troy, St. Madeleine Sophie in
Guilderland and Our Lady of the Annunciation in Queensbury.


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Reproduce freely with attribution.


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For Victims of Clergy Abuse, Pain Doesn't End
Those Speaking out for the First Time Describe Families Torn Apart

By Deborah Martinez
Times Union [Albany, NY]
July 14, 2002

Sharon Jones Witbeck waits for an apology that may never come.

And even if it did — even if the Rev. Joseph Mancuso finally admitted he was
sorry for what she says were two years of fondling and groping in his gold
sedan — it would not make up for the 30 years her mother unwittingly
chastised her for leaving the Roman Catholic Church. Or the little faith she
now has in God.

"Mancuso destroyed two of the most important things in my life — my faith
and my mother's respect for me," said Witbeck, a 48-year-old divorced
mother of three from Rensselaer County. Her mother is now deceased. "I was
a devout Catholic who belongs to no church today, never baptized her
children in any church and had to spend a lifetime living with my mother's
anger and disappointment because of it. I never had the courage to tell her
about the abuse. She loved the church so much and I didn't want to take that
away."

Over the past several weeks, as the Albany Diocese has released the names of
six priests it acknowledges as having had past cases of sexual misconduct
with minors, and as many parishioners have expressed dismay and heartfelt
wishes for their pastors to come back, local victims have finally found the
courage to speak publicly.

They are upset that, in their view, the church has made parishioners and
priests the scandal's focus. They hope their stories shed light on how "one
case long ago," which many parishioners are eager to forgive, can mean a
lifetime of repercussions for families and children who must grow into adults
plagued with their trauma. For a decade, a former Albany County couple says,
their son has shut them out. More than 25 years ago, they say, he was abused
by the Rev. John Patrick Bertolucci. No amount of prayer and penance
Bertolucci could ever do in a monastery would make up for the past decade,
they say.

Their son, the couple says, blamed his parents for bringing Bertolucci into
their lives with invitations to family dinners and nudges to attend youth
group events led by the popular priest. Until last year, the couple wasn't even
allowed to meet their son's two children.

"John Bertolucci didn't just hurt our son. He ripped apart our family," says the
man's mother.

Because of the fledgling relationship she and her husband have begun to
share with their son this year, she asked not to be identified, for fear that he
might close the door again. "He was a man entrusted with so much and he
took advantage. We haven't been able to go on with our lives like he already
did for so many years," she said.

The Rev. Kenneth Doyle, spokesman for the Albany Diocese, declined to
discuss the specifics of the two cases. But he confirmed it was Witbeck's
allegations earlier this year that prompted Bishop Howard Hubbard to
investigate Mancuso, the 60-year-old pastor at Mount Carmel Church in
Schenectady. During the investigation, Doyle said, Mancuso admitted to
"some misconduct, and he was removed based on those comments."

Doyle also acknowledged the bishop met last week with the couple who says
their son was abused by Bertolucci. He declined to elaborate. The couple said
their son first made the allegations against Bertolucci 10 years ago, and the
family received counseling arranged by the diocese during that time.

It is not clear if the couple's son is among those victims who received $2.3
million paid out by the diocese in confidential settlements over the past 25
years. The parents said they didn't know and the son could not be reached for
comment. Witbeck said she has received no money from the diocese.

Mancuso and Bertolucci are currently with family and friends, the diocese
says, deciding whether to live an entirely secular life or to move into a
monastery setting for "a life of prayer and penance." If they choose life in a
monastery, they will be prohibited from any contact with parishioners,
celebrating Mass publicly, wearing clerical garb or presenting themselves
publicly as a priest.

A zero-tolerance policy passed by the nation's nearly 300 bishops during the
annual U.S. Bishops Conference in Dallas last month set up the criteria to
remove the two men from ministry and provided an opportunity for victims
to come forward. Joseph Mancuso was a seminarian and assistant to the
pastor at Holy Spirit Church in East Greenbush during the late 1960s. But
Sharon Jones Witbeck says that to her and all the families in the parish, he
was viewed as a full-fledged priest.

For about two years, beginning when Witbeck was 14, Mancuso would pick
her up at home for church youth group events or trips to the movies, she said,
and when they were inside the car, he would fondle her as she "sat like a
statue." Her mother, struggling alone to raise five children, trusted that her
daughter was safe.

"I'm still asking the girl in me why I let this man touch me for so long," says
Witbeck. "I was not a willing participant, but I did not pull away from him
either. I guess all I can say is that he was like God in my eyes. I loved him and
held him in the highest respect. He was like the father I never had. My very
existence revolved around the church and I did what I thought it wanted and
expected from me."

Witbeck said until her abuse she had been seriously considering a life as a
nun. In casual memoirs she has begun to keep since seeking counseling
through the diocese this year, she laments the emotional scars left from the
abuse.

"My abuser betrayed me, used me and took away everything that I believed
in," she writes. "I have waited a lifetime for him to acknowledge that what he
did to me was inexcusable, wrong and not my fault. After Dallas, I patiently
waited for the announcement of (Mancuso's) name. I was still hoping there
would be an apology. It never came from him. Now, it won't matter because it
would be forced."

Mancuso was ordained as a priest toward the end of his abuse with Witbeck.
As the fondling escalated, she said, she finally shunned the sexual advances
and refused to be alone with him.

"What kind of guy would be studying to be a priest and then do this to a
young girl?" she says. "He had no morals, yet he wanted to lead the church
and probably hurt others we don't even know about in the process."

Witbeck says so many times over the years she wrote "Mancuso" on her daily
to-do lists, a painful reminder to come forward with her allegations. But she
never followed through, fearful that no one would believe her.

If not for the torrent of publicity the scandal has generated over the past six
months, she believes many victims would continue to hide their shame.

"I think everything would be different for all of us if the church and priests
and bishops had been more open and forthcoming," she says. "We're barely
beginning to really grasp the effects these men had. It is unbelievable people
trusted so much by so many were returned to the church without full
disclosure. A case-by-case review might have worked if the bishops had not
let it get to this point and created new victims in all the parishioners they
kept secrets from." Two weeks ago, when Hubbard released the list of six
priests he had removed based on allegations of sexual misconduct, a reporter
called the mother of John Bertolucci's alleged victim to give her the news. She
was on the golf course and took the call on her cellphone.

"Oh my, they named him! The bishop named him!" she cried. "I can't believe
it. His name is finally out there."

As a 12-year-old in the 1970s, they say, their son was molested by Bertolucci,
who is now 64 and retired at a friary in Catskill.

It wasn't until the youth had grown to be a man in his 20s that he revealed
the abuse to his parents and three siblings. Suddenly, a family that had been
built on the Catholic Church and fashioned after the teachings of a magnetic
priest they had grown to love started to crumble.

Their son stopped taking their phone calls and asked them not to visit. He
told his family that he needed space to cope with what he felt was his parents'
fault in the ordeal.

"We really did think the world of John Bertolucci. He could do no wrong
because he was a man of the cloth," the victim's father says. "I don't know, I
guess we were responsible in some way. We thought of priests as someone
who stood above us and we could put all our trust in, and we taught our
children to think the same."

The couple says they first became close to Bertolucci in the late 1970s, after a
referral to local prayer group meetings for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal
movement he helped lead nationwide. The family showed up at these
functions. Young people often circled Bertolucci after meetings and during
informal group gatherings on the weekend.

Bertolucci's power as an evangelist led him to later produce a syndicated
television program during the 1980s, prompting some to refer to him as "the
Catholic Pat Robertson." At one point, he served as a teacher at St. John's
school in Rensselaer and Maria College in Albany, as well as vice chancellor of
the diocese.

All along, the couple thought of him as an "extraordinary spirit" they were
fortunate to count as a family friend. He came to their home for occasional
dinners.

"His charisma is unbelievable," says the victim's father today. "If he told you it
was pitch black outside, even if it was sunny, you'd believe him."

At their private meeting with Hubbard last week, for the first time in a decade
they felt a crack in their resolve to never forgive the bishop they had once
revered, the couple says. Until then, they had been convinced the bishop had
ordered their subtle ouster from their Albany County parish when the
allegations had first surfaced, and they had believed the counseling sessions
with a priest in Hubbard's office had suggested their son was somehow to
blame for luring Bertolucci.

After years of bouncing from one Christian church to another, they are now
Episcopalians.

This weekend, the couple — now retired and living out of state — visited
their son's upstate New York home for the first time in years. While they are
hopeful the family will make peace, they know their ordeal will always haunt
them.

"They say, 'It's a long time, why not forgive them?' " the victim's father says,
referring to the defenders of the priests whose sexual misconduct has been
admitted by the diocese. "John Bertolucci hurt so many people, even the
bishop. I could never forgive him for that. He took away our family. It's a pain
we can never really get rid of, and time with our son and grandchildren we
can never get back. That means more than any clean record he may have kept
in those years since."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004.
Reproduce freely with attribution.



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Priest Retreats to Life of Penance
Albany Banished from Ministry for Sexual Abuse, John Bertolucci Prays His
Victims Find Healing


By Andrew Tilghman
Times Union [Albany, NY]
July 21, 2002

Twenty years ago, the Rev. John Patrick Bertolucci was a beloved author and
televangelist preaching the power of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ
on a nationally syndicated cable TV program.

And he harbored a secret: When he was a pastor in his thirties in the 1970s,
he sexually abused teenagers. How many, he won't say.

Now at the age of 64, his crimes are widely known. He has been disgraced,
told to stay at home, banned from serving as a priest in public and relegated
to a life of "prayer and penance."

"I was deeply embarrassed," Bertolucci said in an interview from his home in
Catskill. "And of course I was concerned about how people would react. ... I
have a normal human pride, so the whole thing is disconcerting."

Bertolucci and five other priests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany
were named publicly and removed from active ministry last month because
they had sexually abused minors in the past.

Across the country, hundreds of priests have been removed or resigned
because of sexual abuse, but few had a ministry as far reaching as
Bertolucci's. His books and broadcasts espousing the evangelical Catholic
Charismatic Renewal movement resonated across the country and around
the world.

"I am deeply loved by a lot of people," he said, mentioning the five or six
letters and e-mails he gets each day from supporters, many of whom he has
never met. As a result, he said, "my level of embarrassment and shame would
be higher" than that of other parish priests.

Bertolucci, who was ordained in 1965, lives in the home left to him by his
mother, who died this past November. Until several weeks ago, he regularly
said Mass at St. Anthony's chapel in his hometown and mingled with local
parishioners.

Now, he rarely leaves the house, praying and celebrating Mass alone and
ministering to friends in private. "I am living almost as a quasi-monk. My
house is my monastery," he said.

This spring, when he came to believe that a "zero tolerance" policy was
inevitable, he requested an early retirement and received his first retirement
check in June, he said.

On June 28, the day Bishop Howard J. Hubbard released the names of the six
pedophile priests, Bertolucci retreated to a monastery in Massachusetts,
staying in seclusion for eight days with only his pager and a stream of
supportive voice mails linking him to the outside world.

While Bertolucci said he opted for a life of prayer and penance, the five other
priests are considering whether to do the same or to voluntarily seek
laicization, or formal removal from the priesthood, church officials said.

One priest, the Rev. James Rosch, who was removed from St. Joseph's in Fort
Edward, has rented an apartment nearby and held an outdoor concert
recently where he sang John Denver tunes to a crowd of his former
parishioners.

Bertolucci said no one has criticized him to his face or singled him out for
harassment since his history of sexual abuse was disclosed.

In his own words, Bertolucci is not, and never has been, a pedophile.

"My issue was with older persons, young adults. When you are dealing with
children, with prepubescents, it's a whole other issue," Bertolucci said.

But one Albany County family, who asked that their names not be revealed,
told the Times Union that Bertolucci abused their son when he was 12 years
old, and he continues into his adulthood to blame his parents for allowing the
abuse to happen.

"John Bertolucci didn't just hurt our son. He ripped apart our family," said the
man's mother.

Bertolucci said he confessed his sexual abuse to other priests in the 1970s,
but it remained confidential in accordance with church rules concerning
confession.

"I would say in the 1970s, my struggle was — and this I only became aware of
later on — my struggle was with what is called intimacy, the need to be close
to somebody. It wasn't so much a sexual struggle as it was a struggle of how
to keep appropriate friendships," he said.

Bertolucci said he has resolved his "struggle" and has not been sexually
involved with a minor since then.

His abuse came to the attention of church officials in 1988, and he was sent to
a residential treatment center for pedophiles in New Mexico, which he
described as "a wonderful growth experience, psychologically and
spiritually."

In the 1990s, he said he grew increasingly remorseful as scattered reports of
sexual abuse by clergy began to appear in the press, and he decided to contact
several of those whom he had abused decades earlier.

"I was moved on my own to reach out," he said. "With letters, phone calls and
in two situations, a personal contact. It was embarrassing, but very healing."

Like many priests of his generation, Bertolucci was deeply influenced in his
work by the pronouncements of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, which
had a liberalizing effect on the church worldwide.

Bertolucci said clergy grew less "stand-offish" and priests came into much
closer and more intimate contact with parishioners, through dinner-table
discussions and salutary hugs and kisses that once had seemed
inappropriate.

"One of the changes that occurred is that we could get closer to our people,
and I would say in my case I wasn't prepared psychologically to watch out for
the boundaries," Bertolucci said.

Bertolucci described his sexuality as "normal, but in the '70s, still developing
with reference to friendship. I got too close to people inappropriately."

"My most profound concern is for anyone I have offended in any way, those
who have been offended by this as well as those I offended in the '70s, my
most profound concern is that they find healing," he said.

He closely followed televised coverage of the Conference of Catholic Bishops
meeting in Dallas in June, where Hubbard spoke forcefully in favor of a more
lenient policy than the zero-tolerance rule that was adopted.

"My preference would have been going in the direction of what was called the
Hubbard amendment," Bertolucci said, "but when they didn't, I knew it was
going to be a tough road ahead.

"I believe the bishops felt they had to take a most radical stand to bring back
the credibility of the church, and for the common good I do accept that. What
they did was acceptable because it is important that the church be respected,
and I deeply regret having anything to do with that lack of credibility," he
said.

In several cases elsewhere in the country, priests have committed suicide
after disclosures about their sexual abuse, and Bertolucci has had to reassure
some close friends not to worry about that in his case.

"I can almost feel when people are talking to me, they are thinking, 'You
wouldn't do a crazy thing like that, would you?' " he said. "I have a deep
spirituality and a wonderful bishop, and that has made it easier."


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Man, Parents Sue Two Area Priests
Albany Lawsuit Alleges a Conspiracy to Intimidate Victim of Sexual Abuse

By Andrew Tilghman
Times Union [Albany, NY]
October 10, 2002

A Capital Region man and his parents have filed a $450,000 lawsuit against
two Roman Catholic priests in the Albany Diocese, accusing them of
conspiring to intimidate a victim of sexual abuse and discourage him from
coming forward with a formal complaint.

According to the lawsuit, the Rev. John Bertolucci placed a phone call to the
parents of the man, whom he sexually abused more than 20 years ago. The
priest tried to intimidate the parents and get them to discourage their son
from coming forward and filing a complaint, the lawsuit said.


All three family members withheld their names from the lawsuit, filed this
week in state Supreme Court. The lawsuit names Bertolucci, a former pastor
at the St. Ambrose parish in Latham, and the Rev. Kenneth Doyle, the
diocese's chancellor and director of public information.

Doyle, who is also a lawyer, responded to the lawsuit with a terse public
statement, calling the lawsuit "pure fiction." Bertolucci, who lives in Catskill
and was a prominent figure in the national Catholic charismatic movement,
did not return a call for comment.

The victim had decided to come forward about his abuse and set up a meeting
for Sept. 12 to formally register his allegations with Doyle and the diocese's
attorney, Michael Costello, according to the lawsuit.

But on Sept. 11, Bertolucci allegedly called the parents, saying it was 3 p.m.,
the time Jesus is considered to have died on the cross and known to many
Roman Catholics at the "Hour of Mercy."

"My lawyer tells me I could not call your son directly, so I am calling both of
you," Bertolucci said, according to the lawsuit.

"I did not have sexual intercourse with your son, I only fondled him,"
Bertolucci allegedly said. "I was very pound of your son the way he
repeatedly fought off my sexual advances most of the time. I want you to
know that I still love your son after all these years."

The man, who is now in his late 30s and works locally as a police officer, had
told his parents about the abuse many years ago, the family's attorney, John
Aretakis, said.

The lawsuit does not seek damages for the sexual abuse, which allegedly took
place in the 1970s and is out of reach under the state's three-year statute of
limitations.

Instead, the lawsuit focuses on the alleged call last month. Bertolucci is
accused of harassing and intentionally inflicting emotional harm on the
family. The lawsuit accuses Doyle of breaching confidentiality by allegedly
calling Bertolucci and urging him to call the man's family.

Albany Law Professor Timothy Lytton said a judge would have to decide
whether a claim of intentional affliction of emotional harm has merit.

"The conduct has to be so outrageous and so extreme as to go beyond all
possible bounds of decency and be regarded as atrociously and utterly
intolerable in a civilized society," Lytton said.

"You could say calling someone up and trying to persuade them not to file a
lawsuit in and of itself doesn't seem beyond the bounds of common decency,"
Lytton said. "On the other hand, calling up someone's parents and unearthing
the sexual abuse of their child from 30 years ago in a way that creates
tremendous pain and turmoil in the family, it's possible that that would be
considered extreme or outrageous conduct."


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Diocese Seeks a Dismissal of Count
Albany -- Sexual Abuse Victim's Lawsuit under Racketeering Law Alleges
Church Figures Conspired to Prevent Complaints

By Andrew Tilghman
Newsday.com
February 4, 2003

The Albany diocese's legal team is trying to block a sexual abuse victim's
efforts to sue under federal anti-racketeering law, a potentially devastating
threat that could expose the church to grave financial danger.

The lawsuit filed last fall claims a known pedophile priest, the Rev. John
Bertolucci, and the diocese's chancellor, the Rev. Kenneth Doyle, conspired to
intimidate the victim from lodging a formal complaint.

Dioceses around the country are facing lawsuits under the U.S. Racketeering
Influence and Corrupt Organizations law, also known as RICO, which was
originally designed to target mobsters and organized crime.

In October, Doyle issued a public statement calling the local lawsuit "pure
fiction." But in their first formal response to the $450,000 lawsuit, the priests'

attorneys did not dispute the facts, or other less-damaging claims such as
harassment and negligence, court papers show.

Instead, the church's attorneys focused their first motion on the single
element that invokes the federal law, asking a judge to dismiss the RICO
count before going any further.

The motion is part of the defense "litigation strategy," said Albany attorney
James Potter, who is representing Bertolucci. Potter had no further comment
on the court papers, and a spokesman for the diocese declined comment.

RICO is a strong legal weapon, designed to encourage people to take on
powerful or intimidating institutions that might be involved in criminal
activity, said Albany Law School professor Dan Moriarty. The law requires
courts to triple any jury award and losing defendants to pay all legal costs.

"This has got to be matter of concern for the church," Moriarty said. "It could
bankrupt most any diocese."

What the victims "are trying to show is that the people at the top of the
system -- the bishops and their principle associates -- conducted the affairs of
the diocese in a way that obstructed justice," Moriarty said.

The church's motion was filed Dec. 6. The victim's attorney, John Aretakis,
filed a response on Friday, saying Bertolucci might be a convicted sex
offender were it not for "the protection and conspiratorial actions of his
employers."

The lawsuit, pending before state Supreme Court Justice Thomas J.
McNamara, was filed on behalf of a victim listed as John Doe. The man, who is
now a State Police trooper, said Bertolucci sexually abused him several times
between 1976 and 1979.

After the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted a policy of zero-
tolerance for pedophile priests, Bishop Howard Hubbard removed Bertolucci
and five other priests from active ministry and acknowledged that the
diocese had paid out more than $2.3 million to victims of sexual abuse over a
25-year period. Bertolucci, a former vice chancellor, admitted to having sex
with boys as young as 12 during the 1970s.

The lawsuit does not seek damages for the sexual abuse itself, which is out of
reach from civil penalties under the state's three-year statute of limitations.

But on Sept. 11, 2002, Bertolucci allegedly called the man's parents, who are
still active church members, and asked them to speak to their son and stop
him from coming forward, according to the lawsuit.

"I did not have sexual intercourse with your son, I only fondled him,"
Bertolucci allegedly said, according to the lawsuit filed in state Supreme
Court.

"I was very proud of your son, the way he repeatedly fought off my sexual
advances most of the time. I want you to know that I still love your son after
all these years," Bertolucci said, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also alleges that Doyle, who is a lawyer, had called Bertolucci at
his Catskill home to tell him about the man's upcoming meeting with the
church attorney and encouraged the priest to call the parents. Longtime
church attorney Michael Costello is representing Doyle.

The federal RICO statute has been successfully applied to a variety of
organizations, including anti-abortion groups and white supremacists, but
many lawsuits lodged against the Catholic Church remain unresolved.

In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation's largest, a racketeering suit
filed on behalf of four victims accused Cardinal Roger Mahony of protecting a
child-molesting priest who spent more than a dozen years under his
supervision.

Minnesota attorney Jeffrey Anderson last year filed a RICO lawsuit against the
Vatican, a former bishop and four dioceses, accusing them of hiding the
transgressions of a "web of predator priests" whose sexual misconduct spans
at least three decades.

An effort to invoke the RICO statute in a clergy sex-abuse lawsuit in New
Jersey was dismissed in 1995.

The RICO case is one of three lawsuits filed in Albany in recent months that
fault the diocese for the way it dealt with victims of sexual abuse who came
forward last year. One suit accuses Hubbard and a church therapist, Sister
Anne Bryan Smollin, of manipulating a man to stop him from hiring an
attorney. Another suit claims the diocese deliberately invites victims to
meetings at the Pastoral Center on North Main Avenue, which is filled with
crucifixes, pictures of priests and other church relics, in an effort to
intimidate them from filing complaints.



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Judge Denies Access to Files
Victim's Request for Priest's Records Called a "Fishing Expedition"

By Andrew Tilghman
Albany Times Union [Albany NY]
September 24, 2003

A state Supreme Court judge has denied a sexual abuse victim's request for
access to a pedophile priest's personnel file at the Roman Catholic Diocese of
Albany.

Justice Christian Hummel said seeking internal church documents about the
Rev. John Bertolucci was "a wholly unsupported fishing expedition."

The man who said Bertolucci molested him in the 1970s sought the file,
believing it would show the priest had repeatedly called his victims, possibly
at the instruction of the Albany Diocese.

The suit filed last year named Bertolucci and the Rev. Kenneth Doyle,
chancellor and spokesman for the Albany Diocese. It accused Doyle of
plotting with Bertolucci to intimidate a victim of sexual abuse.

But on Tuesday, Hummel dismissed the portion of the lawsuit against Doyle.

The lawsuit focuses on a phone call Bertolucci made last year to the parents
of the man he allegedly molested. The call in September came just one day
before the victim was scheduled to meet with church officials to file a
complaint of sexual abuse against Bertolucci. Bertolucci allegedly urged the
parents to stop their son from filing the complaint.

The victim and his lawyer, John Aretakis, accused Doyle of telling Bertolucci
to place the call.


Hummel said that Bertolucci's file had no bearing on the lawsuit.

Hummel's decision strikes a sharp contrast with the judge overseeing clergy
sex abuse cases in Boston, the epicenter of the national scandal. Last year,
Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney ordered the Archdiocese of Boston
to release all personnel files of priests accused of sexual abuse, a move that
ultimately revealed the extent of the problem in the Boston area.

Bertolucci admitted in court papers that he made the call, but said he was
unaware of the scheduled meeting and the call was a coincidence.

Bertolucci also admitted in court papers to improperly touching the man
more than 20 years ago, but New York's three-year statute of limitations
would likely bar any lawsuit that directly targeted the abuse.

Bertolucci was removed from ministry in June 2000 when Bishop Howard
Hubbard implemented a zero-tolerance policy.

Doyle denied any contact with Bertolucci in the days leading up to the phone
call and meeting.

In dismissing the case, Hummel said Doyle's account was "uncontroverted"
and the allegations were "unsupported speculation," according to the order
dated Monday.

"I said months ago that Mr. Aretakis' claims were fiction and they have been
showed to be just that," Doyle said in a written statement released Tuesday.
"I feel a certain relief from the court's decision, although my pain in being
wrongly accused does not compare to the pain suffered by victims of sexual
abuse."

Hummel has also received a letter from a California man uninvolved in the
lawsuit who wanted to see Bertolucci's personnel file because he believed the
priest molested his brother, who is now deceased.

On Friday, Hummel rejected Aretakis's request that the judge remove himself
from clergy sex abuse cases.

In an exchange that highlights the contentiousness of the case, Aretakis had
accused Hummel of trying to curry favor with local judicial officials by
favoring the diocese in clergy sex abuse cases.

Hummel responded in his decision this week with harsh words and a threat
for Aretakis.

"There is ... a clearly defined line between zealous representation and
unprincipled attacks on the judiciary. (Aretakis) has repeatedly crossed that
line," Hummel wrote.

"Such behavior will not be tolerated in this court or any court. If (Aretakis)
again engages in attacks on the court which are completely lacking in factual
or legal support, this court will schedule a hearing to determine if Mr.
Aretakis should be held in contempt of court," Hummel wrote.

Aretakis said on Tuesday: "I stand by all of my allegations. If all of that is not
true, he could already hold me in contempt."



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Judge Rejects Lawsuit over Priest's Phone Call
Albany the Rev. John P. Bertolucci Was Sued after He Called the Parents of an
Alleged Sex-Abuse Victim

By Bruce A. Scruton
Times Union [Albany, NY]
October 24, 2003

The last parts of a year-old lawsuit that alleged a pedophile priest made
harassing phone calls to the parents of one of his victims has been dismissed
in state Supreme Court.

The priest, the Rev. John P. Bertolucci, had maintained that his single phone
call to the parents on Sept. 11, 2002, was an act seeking forgiveness and came
after watching television coverage of 9/11 memorial services.

In a decision dated Monday, Justice Christian F. Hummel dismissed the
remains of the lawsuit, which, over the preceding months, had been chipped
away by other dismissals.


The suit was initially filed on Oct. 4, 2002, against Bertolucci and the Rev.
Kenneth Doyle and alleged that Doyle had told Bertolucci to call the parents,
identified only as "Mr. and Mrs. John Doe." In April, the plaintiffs' attorney,
John Aretakis, amended the suit, adding Bishop Howard J. Hubbard and the
Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

In July, Hummel removed the bishop and diocese as defendants and on Sept.
22 granted motions asking that Doyle be dismissed from the suit.

The Sept. 11, 2002, phone call came just a day before Aretakis and the abuse
victim, identified as "Jack Doe," were to meet with the diocese's lawyer.
During that phone call, Bertolucci admitted to the parents that in the 1970s,
he had inappropriately touched their son but never had sexual intercourse
with the youth, who is now a state trooper.

The original lawsuit also included an allegation under the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. However, the plaintiff withdrew
that RICO allegation before the court could act on its merits.

A motion filed by Aretakis last month sought to have Hummel turn over to
investigators the attorney's allegations of bias and criminal wrongdoing to
investigators. In his decision, Hummel said, "That request is a 'sound bite'
intended for local media outlets rather than a serious legal argument," and
Aretakis could take his complaint directly to the appropriate agencies.

Hummel ruled that Bertolucci's phone call did not rise to the standards
needed to be considered "outrageous." In fact, the judge wrote, of all the cases
to go before the Court of Appeals on that legal point, "every one has failed
because the alleged conduct was not sufficiently outrageous."

The judge noted that the son had earlier told his parents about hiring an
attorney to sue the diocese, so a phone call from the priest should not have
come as a surprise.

Phone calls are often made from possible defendants asking that suits not be
filed or the issue be settled before the case goes to court, Hummel said.

This is the last of the cases involving clergy sexual abuse against the Albany
Diocese in Albany courts, although two earlier dismissals are under appeal.
Aretakis said Thursday that there is one case pending in Schenectady, while
other cases have been filed against the Albany Diocese in Nebraska and
Arizona.

The attorney said he has been contacted by potential clients and is
researching their claims and new lawsuits are possible.


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Alleged Sexual Abuse Victim Suing Diocese: Leonard Claims Legal Action
Is Only Way to Get Affirmation of 'Terrible Things That Happened'

By Robert Cristo
Troy Record
July 15, 2004

ALBANY (NY): Claiming he never received any support from the church in
regard to his allegations of being molested as a child by Boston priests and
sexually victimized by an Albany cleric as an adult, a Capital District man says
the only place left to look for justice is in the courtroom.

David Leonard, 61, of Frankfort, Herkimer County, said Wednesday that he is
filing a lawsuit in Massachusetts against both the Albany Diocese and the
Boston Archdiocese over allegations that include being sexually abused by
priests as a child at a camp in the Berkshires and having an inappropriate
exorcism performed on him in Albany.

Leonard made the 40-page civil suit public in the jury's lounge of the Albany
County Courthouse with his wife, Nancy, and attorney John Aretakis by his
side.

"People have to understand that the church still doesn't get it. ... They tell
everyone that they're going to help, but I haven't seen it," said Leonard while
sitting in an Albany park before the press conference.

"We have four children I'm very proud of and I want them to hear from the

church about all the evil they sat back and just let happen.

He's also upset with Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard for making public what
Leonard thought was a confidential statement he gave last year to the diocese
concerning the alleged inappropriate sexual activities of four priests, one of
whom has since been removed from ministry (Robert Shinos).

The confidential letter was used in attorney Mary Jo White's independent
investigation that recently found the bishop innocent of all charges of sexual
misconduct. Leonard says the diocese never asked his permission to use the
statement.

He believes White used the information to cast a negative light on allegations
that he saw Hubbard in a gay bar in the late 1970s, despite other aspects of
his "confidential" diocese statement being found true.

"I went to them with the names of bad priests and then the diocese betrays
me," said Leonard, who has a history of mental illness.

Diocese Spokesman Rev. Kenneth Doyle said no confidentiality rules were
broken in this case.

"Mr. Leonard's 2003 statement did not indicate he had been a victim of any
priest, but he was reporting what he thought to be true of some priests. That
was investigated and shared in discussion with the White investigation," said
Doyle, who added that, "surely, anyone who comes to the diocese as a victim
reporting a complaint is protected by confidentiality."

According to White representative Mary Beth Hogan, the statement was
relevant because it showed that a year before Leonard made accusations
against Hubbard, he trusted the bishop enough to ask him to investigate
other priests.

Meanwhile, Leonard claims that Albany Diocese spokesperson Ken Goldfarb
asked him to leave Hubbard's press conference a few weeks ago when the
bishop commented on the White investigation.

"I wasn't being disruptive. ... I just wanted to hear Hubbard's statement, but
Goldfarb escorted me out," said Leonard. "Considering how bad victims have
been treated in the past ... I wasn't surprised. ... Goldfarb said this wasn't the
time for this, but I was just sitting there causing no problems."

Phone calls to Goldfarb for comment were not returned.

Leonard's long history of alleged abuse began at the age of 12 in Hindsdale,
Mass., where he claims he was abused at a camp called Camp Wyoma by a
priest (Ronald Dorsey) from the Stigmatine Order, which falls under the
Boston Archdiocese.

Shortly after that, Leonard attended a minor seminary named Elm Bank Prep
in Wellesey Hills, Mass., to become a priest, where he claims to have been
sexually abused by Brother John Fowler between 1953 and 1956.



Leonard said he told a superior at the seminary about the abuse, but that
priest told him to "swear to never reveal" any of the details to anyone.

His story was the subject of a 2002 Boston Globe article, which reported that
"one Stigmatine priest who tried to stop the abuse was twice transferred
after alerting superiors to what was going on."

Leonard came to the Capital District as a result of his uncle David Gallagher, a
Stigmatine brother, referring him to Rev. John Bertolucci of the Albany
Diocese for assistance.

After revealing his history of abuse to Bertolucci in 1978-79, Leonard claims
the priest said he was possessed by a demon and required an exorcism.

According to Leonard, Hubbard approved of the exorcism, and it was
performed by Rev. Richard McAlear, one of the few authorized persons in the
country to perform exorcisms.

The diocese denies that ever happened, but Leonard claims he ended up in
the hospital for six months as a result, and even attempted suicide by trying
to set himself on fire.

Diocese officials have said in the past that McAlear may have performed other
rituals within the diocese at the time.

Bertolucci, a defrocked priest, admitted to interacting with McAlear regularly
during the 1970s, but said in media interviews last year that he did not recall
Leonard.

In the early 1990s, Leonard claims, Rev. Anthony Curran from St. Peter's and
Paul's Church in Frankfurt sexually abused him as an adult and put child
pornography on the television in his bedroom at the rectory.

Curran is currently a priest in good standing at a Schenectady parish, but
Bertolucci was removed from active ministry in 2002 for inappropriately
touching boys as young as 12 back in the 1970s.

Leonard's attorney says the reason he filed the lawsuit in Boston is simply
because the statute of limitations laws there are less strictly adhered to than
in New York state, which gives his client a better chance of the case going to
trial. #


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Bishop Grants Mercy to Disgraced
Hubbard Decides Not to Defrock Diocesan Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse

By Michele Morgan Bolton
Albany Times Union [Albany NY]
August 16, 2005

ALBANY -- Three years after the clergy sex abuse scandal exploded into the
public consciousness, dozens of priests have finally been stripped of their
duties by the Vatican in recent months. Those defrocked, which means they
cannot act as a priest or receive financial support from the church, include
four clergy in Boston, six from the Rockville Center Diocese downstate and
another nine in Philadelphia.

But here in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, none of the 13 surviving
priests of the 20 removed from ministry will have his case reviewed by the
Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Bishop Howard Hubbard contends that laicization is too harsh. His decision
means the men will continue to draw pensions and health insurance benefits

until they die.

"I believe, after reflection and consultation with the misconduct board and
my canonical advisers, that the formal and public removal from ministry is
sufficient punishment for the priest and adequate protection for the
community," he said.

"And that's the route I have taken, in accordance with the charter and
canonical laws of the church," said Hubbard, a vocal critic of the zero
tolerance policy adopted by the U.S. Conference of Bishops after the scandal
erupted in 2002. "If I found that anyone who had received this punishment
had presented himself as a priest, publicly, then I still have the step of
laicization. I haven't ruled out that option, and it is still available.'

In the past 54 years, 145 individuals who claimed they were sexually abused
as minors have raised allegations against 76 priests in the Albany Diocese.
Twenty priests have been removed from ministry and nine are under
investigation, including two in active ministry, according to the most recent
statistics available.

The process for removing a priest from ministry locally is thorough, Hubbard
said. After the sexual misconduct board has determined reasonable grounds
to believe an allegation, church officials make the news public. Church
officials in Rome also are notified, he said.

"Everyone knows. I think that is sufficient," Hubbard said.

Mark Lyman, who is co-director of the Albany chapter of the Support
Network for Those Abused by Priests, said abusive priests should be laicized.

"Justice comes in the form of assisting victims and putting their lives back
together and some form of punishment for the offender," said Lyman, who
said he was abused as a young teen by a trusted, Franciscan adviser.

"For years, they've known about the problem and hid it," he said. "If Christ
were here today, things would be a lot different. I think he would be a lot
harsher with his disciples."

Only one cleric associated with the Albany Diocese has been officially laicized
by the Vatican, but that was requested by a New Jersey bishop in the diocese
where he was assigned at the time.

James Hanley, 68, who was accused of sexually abusing at least 15 children in
his home diocese of Paterson, agreed to be laicized in June 2003.

The process -- which involves approval from the Vatican -- took about nine
months. These days, it takes much longer. The Vatican is working its way
through a backlog of decisions on as many as several hundred accused
American priests. The death of Pope John Paul II in April also may have
slowed the process.

Hubbard has long opposed zero tolerance, the one-strike-and-you're-out
philosophy that victims groups believe is more appropriate for child sex
abuse.

Dennis Doyle, who is a professor of theology at the University of Dayton, said
he was surprised to hear that Hubbard had actually deferred on laicization,
after his colleagues around the country have opted for it.

"The zero tolerance policy is something that was politically necessary," Doyle
said. "But I doubt it will be in place 10 years from now."

"To balance justice between victims and perpetrators, you have to go with the
victims," Doyle continued. "That's the way the pendulum has to swing,
because justice has been so long in coming. This bishop may have some good
reasons, in the big picture, but sympathy has to be with the victim. That's
where we are in history."

The Rev. John Patrick Bertolucci, 67, is one of the 13 diocesan priests who
opted for a life of prayer and reflection in his family's Catskill home after
being removed from his post.

The author and televangelist who preached the power of a personal
relationship with Jesus on a nationally syndicated cable TV program sexually
abused teenagers in the 1970s when he was a pastor in his 30s at St. Joseph's
in Little Falls.

"The most powerful form of penance I can do is to pray for the healing and
reconciliation of any person I have sinned against and any person I have
misled by my misconduct," Bertolucci said last week.

"I believe that my bishop is wise in keeping open a line of communication
with priests who have engaged in misconduct, rather than removing any
canonical, jurisdictional oversight, which laicization would do."


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Retired Priest Removed, 3 on Leave

By Cathy Woodruff
Albany Times Union
March 19, 2011

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Retired-priest-removed-3-on-
leave-1212952.php

Bishop Howard Hubbard of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese has placed
three retired priests on administrative leave and removed another from the
ministry based on allegations that they sexually abused minors.

Kenneth Goldfarb, spokesman for the Albany Diocese, made the
announcement Saturday in a news release.

The Rev. Robert Purcell, 76, retired pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in
Margaretville, Delaware County, was removed from the ministry as the result
of a recent abuse claim dating to 1957, 17 years before his ordination.

The allegation was forwarded to the Albany County district attorney's office,
which declined to pursue criminal charges, and an investigation was initiated
by the diocese's Sexual Misconduct Review Board. Purcell has denied the
allegation.

Meanwhile, Hubbard has placed three retired priests on administrative leave
as a result of allegations that they sexually abused a minor in Albany between
1986 and 1991.

Two had remained in active ministry. They are: the Rev. Alan Jupin, 73,
retired pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Schenectady, and the Rev.
Donald Ophals, 77, who served as pastor at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Troy
at one time.


The third priest placed on leave, Louis Douglas, 82, retired from St. Catherine
of Siena Parish in Albany in 1992 and is under medical care in a nursing
facility.

According to the statement from the diocese, Jupin, Ophals and Douglas
previously were placed on administrative leave in 2003 following a sexual
abuse allegation from another person. The Diocesan Review Board
investigated, but the allegation could not be substantiated and the three were
restored to ministry in 2004.

The Rev. John Bertolucci -- a fourth priest accused with Jupin, Ophals and
Douglas -- was removed from ministry by Hubbard in 2002 based on
unrelated sexual abuse allegations.


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Alleged Victim: Priests Used Me As a Child Sex Slave

By Brendan J. Lyons
Albany Times Union
March 25, 2011

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Alleged-victim-Priests-used-me-as-
a-child-sex-1297904.php


Mike DeSantis said that he was sexually abused as a child by priests, some of
which happened at the Towers of Colonie, where he stood and talked about the
incidents, on Tuesday March 22, 2011 in Colonie, NY. ( Philip Kamrass/ Times
Union )

"Treat him like you treat me. Give him God's love," he recalled the priest saying.

The bedroom door would close as a second priest would allegedly rape the little
boy. When it was over, the victim said, the Rev. Alan Jupin would walk him to a
bathroom where a third priest, seated, would make him perform oral sex.

"I was used as pretty much like a child sex slave," he said. "My wife has wept by
my side, seen me cry myself to sleep. ... I would have flashbacks of the nights I
was there during thunderstorms. I was 34 years old and laying in my bed in a
fetal position in the thunderstorms."

Michael DeSantis, 34, who grew up in Colonie, said the molestation started
when he was about 9. Though several years of his childhood are a complete
blank, he has vague memories of riding his skateboard to Jupin's apartment at
Colonie Towers on Sand Creek Road.

Jupin, 73, then a popular priest at Our Lady of Mercy, was known to host
alcohol-fueled parties at his apartment for young men and boys, according to
two people who attended them. One of those former altar boys, who asked not
to be identified, said he never sensed inappropriate behavior on Jupin's part,
other than that he would help underage boys get drunk. The boys were
nicknamed "the Jupinites."

Looking back, DeSantis said, he believes Jupin had "groomed" him over a period
of years. It started with touching and kisses before the abuse grew more
serious. He remembers at least a few occasions at Jupin's apartment where two
other priests were present and allegedly took part in the abuse.

In the 7th grade, DeSantis' weight ballooned as he said the sexual abuse
intensified. He was fondled at Our Lady of Mercy, but sexually abused at Jupin's
apartment, he said. His mother grew worried about his health and enrolled him
in diet counseling. When he sees photos of himself playing basketball or taking
part in other activities during the period of the alleged abuse -- 1986 to 1991 --
DeSantis said he can barely recall any details.

The faded memories of DeSantis' alleged abuse started surfacing last year.
DeSantis, whose story has never been publicly revealed until now, is a former
altar boy whose parents are devoted Roman Catholics. His father, Victor, a
retired college administrator, was a priest for 10 years until 1970 when he left
the priesthood to get married. He was ordained in Rome, Italy, and has known
Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard for 40 years and considers him a friend.

Childhood photo of Michael DeSantis 1986-
1987 during 4th grade.

Victor DeSantis' wife, Mary, worked as a pastoral outreach associate at Our
Lady of Mercy and has been heavily involved with the diocese. She knows Jupin
and the other priests accused of raping her son. The couple have three children,
including two daughters.

Mary DeSantis said that in the late 1980s, when her son says the abuse began,
she couldn't pinpoint what was wrong.

"I began to see changes in Mike that caused me concern," she said. "Fading was
my joyful little boy and emerging was an anxious, preoccupied, quiet, though
still a people-pleasing boy. As he continued to grow so did my concerns. As a
mother you just know when there is something weighing down your child ..."

Looking back, Mary DeSantis said, she recalls characteristics of Jupin that gave
her pause.

Childhood photo of Michael DeSantis
1987-1988 during 5th grade.

"I could honestly say that I was never really comfortable in Jupin's presence,"
she said. "There was something visceral for me ... a gut feeling that there was a
public side to Jupin and there was a private side to Jupin."

Jupin could not be reached for comment.

Last fall, after wrestling with his decision for months, DeSantis brought his
allegations against four priests to the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese. He said
his first memories of the alleged sexual abuse came nine months ago as he
struggled in therapy to understand why his marriage and life seemed to be
falling apart. He recounts his young son watching confusingly last year as he
stood in his yard hammering a tree with a baseball bat. He suffered insomnia
and deep depression.

Childhood photo of Michael
DeSantis 1992-1993 during 10th
grade

DeSantis' wife, Maggie, said she was initially skeptical when her husband
disclosed the alleged abuse. Then he began to really unravel.

"For the first month he had to sleep with the light on," she said. "Every night he
would dread going to sleep. Every night we knew we were going to be up all
night. ... I was scared to death. He was shaking and crying. Every night of the
week I would have to hold him; it was like he was a child again."

With regular therapy visits, DeSantis said he started coming to grips last
summer with what he said happened. He told his parents about the alleged
abuse and they were supportive but careful not to give him names of any
priests he could not recall. His mother called one day and asked him to visit an
Albany church where she had seen a collage of photographs depicting one of the
priests she suspected of abusing her son.

Rev. Alan Jupin , Nov. 19, 1973. (Times Union archive)

Mary DeSantis did not tell her son which priest to look for. He drove to the
church and said he immediately recognized one of the priests, Louis Douglas, as
having raped him about 20 years ago.

On Saturday, five months after DeSantis filed a complaint with the diocese,
Bishop Hubbard announced he had suspended three of the priests: Jupin, Louis
Douglas, 82, and Donald Ophals, 77. DeSantis alleges those are three priests
who molested him at Jupin's former residence.

It's at least the second time since 2003 the three priests have been accused of
sexual molestation. A fourth priest that DeSantis said molested him, John
Bertolucci, was removed from ministry in 2003 by Hubbard when unrelated
sexual abuse allegations against him were sustained by the church. None of the
priests has been charged with crimes related to the allegations, which in some
instances stretch back to at least the 1970s.

Jupin and Ophals, who are close friends, and Douglas, now in a nursing home in
Delaware and suffering dementia, were cleared by the diocese in 2004 and
returned to the ministry.

In March 2004, the Rev. Donald Ophals says mass with Bishop Howard
Hubbard as he returned to his post at St. Francis Church in Troy and to his
parish members. Ophals had been charged with conspiracy to commit stalking
in another county. The charges were reviewed and considered to be
unfounded. (Times Union / Luanne M. Ferris)

The 2003 allegations were not investigated by a law enforcement agency.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said his office was not
asked to investigate the abuse claims, only a stalking charge against Jupin by
one of the alleged victims. "It was unfounded," Carney said.

Meanwhile, in a proceeding that is not public, a review panel for the diocese
concluded in 2004 that the earlier allegations were unsubstantiated. Action
against any priests is a decision left to Hubbard as bishop. The review panel
never meets with alleged victims and instead relies on information provided by
a private investigator.

Timothy Sawicki, 51, who filed the 2003 complaint against Jupin, Ophals and
Douglas, said he was devastated when he learned, from reading a newspaper,
that the priests had been cleared and reinstated to ministry. He said that Jupin
had been the most sexually abusive of the three.

"I looked up to these people as shepherds and I naively assumed they would do
the right thing," he said. "I got put in the torpedo tube and shot out and re-
victimized all over again."

DeSantis said he has never spoken to Sawicki and is not involved with a group
of alleged victims who associate with John Aretakis, a former attorney who has
criticized the church's handling of abuse cases.

The Rev. Louis E. Douglas in 1958.
(Times Union)

He said the experience of being interviewed by Joseph Flynn, an investigator for
the diocese, was an abrasive encounter. He said Flynn refused to allow him to
tape record their meeting and threatened to do his investigation without
DeSantis' input otherwise. He also said Flynn peppered him with questions
about why he "went back" to Jupin's apartment and where his parents were
when the alleged abuse was taking place.

"He asked me what I wanted from this, like the end result, and I said justice,"
DeSantis said. "I probably got partial justice last week when they got placed on
administrative leave. My second part would be to be able to have all the men
sitting at a table and I can go one-by-one down the line and tell them what they
did and how they destroyed my life, my faith and my trust."

Then, DeSantis said, Flynn asked him another question. "He said are you
looking for a payoff. I said: 'Joe, how do you put a price on someone's childhood
that will never come back.' "

Father John Bertolucci in 1990. (Times
Union

DeSantis met with the investigator three times. The diocese began its
investigation a few weeks ago after the Albany County district attorney's office
examined the case and determined no criminal charges could be pursued
because of a five-year statute of limitations.

The Rev. Kenneth Doyle, the diocese's chancellor for public information, said
the diocese would reopen the investigation of Sawicki's allegations if there was
"new evidence" developed. He said the diocese has not covered up for priests
who engaged in sexual abuse of children.

"Since 2002 we've removed 24 priests and one deacon from clergy because
reasonable ground were found to believe they sexually abused a minor," Doyle
said. "I understand the environment of suspicion and doubt that's been created
over the years with the church's handling of these matters. I think what we're
trying to do now is to restore our credibility and to conduct full and
comprehensive investigations."

In March 2004, the Rev. Donald Ophals is welcomed by Bishop
Howard Hubbard as he returned to his post at St. Francis Church in
Troy and to his parish members. Ophals had been charged with
conspiracy to commit stalking in another county. The charges were
reviewed and considered to be unfounded. (Times Union / Luanne M.
Ferris)

Timeliness is critical, Doyle said. "We encourage the victims to contact law
enforcement and the diocese as soon as they can. With the passing of years
memories fade."

Lyons can be reached at 454-5547 or by e-mail at blyons@timesunion.com

Statement of Mary DeSantis:

"Michael, along with my other two children, has been and always will be a
precious gift from God. As his mother, I have had many long days and nights
throughout these last nightmarish nine months to reflect on this son of mine.
From the time he was a toddler he was full of laughter, quick to give that
winning smile, bursting with high energy, fearless and so desiring to please. As
he entered school he made friends quickly, was polite, caring, respectful and
proud to be assigned tasks of a helpful nature. His greatest excitement was
when he became an altar boy. He saw this as a way of being helpful, but more
importantly, as a way to follow in his dad's footsteps. Sadly, not too long after, I
began to see changes in Mike that caused me concern. Fading was my joyful
little boy and emerging was an anxious, preoccupied, quiet, though still a
people-pleasing boy. As he continued to grow so did my concerns. As a mother
you just know when there is something weighing down your child and you
pursue any and every path open to you to get to the root of the problem.
Twenty-three years later the root of my son's pain has emerged. I will always
have dreams for my 'wonderful son, Mike.' The ones connected to his childhood
are long gone. But today I behold before me the courageous, strong young man
of profound integrity and self-respect whom I love dearly and am so very proud
to call my son."


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Reproduce freely with attribution.


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Victim Alleges Fifth Catholic Priest Abused Him in Child Sex Case

By Brendan J. Lyons
Albany Times Union
August 13, 2011



http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Victim-alleges-fifth-Catholic-priest-
abused-him-1935128.php

Father Carl Urban talks about the changes in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood
at the Church of St. Adalbert on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009, in Schenectady, N.Y.
Urban has been accused of sexual abuse of a minor for the second time since
2004. (Cindy Schultz / Times Union)

A fifth priest attached to the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese has been accused
of abuse by a man who grew up in Colonie and had previously alleged four area
priests sexually molested him as a young boy.

The Rev. Carl Urban, 71, who is listed as retired but was a longtime pastor at the
Church of St. Adalbert in Schenectady, has been accused of sexual abuse by
Michael DeSantis, 34, now a resident of Saratoga County, according to letters
from the diocese's attorney to Albany County prosecutors obtained by the
Times Union.

Last fall, DeSantis filed a complaint with the Albany diocese in which he said
four priests -- Alan Jupin, 73; Louis Douglas, 82; Donald Ophals, 77; and John
Bertolucci, 73 -- had abused him in separate incidents at Jupin's former
apartment in Colonie or at Our Lady of Mercy church in Colonie.

DeSantis said Jupin, Douglas and Ophals took turns abusing him at Jupin's
apartment. He said Bertolucci abused him at Our Lady of Mercy, which was his
family's church and where DeSantis' mother had worked for years as an
outreach associate.

Reached by telephone late Friday Urban declined comment on the allegations.

"I think you had best call my attorney and I better not respond at this moment,"
Urban said. When pressed on whether the allegations are false, Urban said:
"Nothing. I'm not going to answer anything." Then he hung up.

Urban has been placed on administrative leave while the diocese investigates
the allegations, said the Rev. Kenneth Doyle, the diocese's chancellor for public
information. Parishioners at St. Adalbert's will be told of the action during
services this weekend, he said.

"It is my understanding that Father Urban strongly denies the allegations,"
Doyle said in a statement issued late Friday.

Doyle said the diocese took the administrative action earlier this week. Records
show an attorney for the diocese had confirmed Aug. 3 that the district
attorney's office could not pursue the allegations because they relate to a
period beyond the statute of limitations. The complaint against Urban was filed
in early July.

"My whole thing is justice," said DeSantis, who does not have an attorney and
has not pursued any civil action in the case. Under New York law DeSantis
cannot sue the diocese for the alleged abuse because it occurred beyond a civil
statute of limitations set by the legislature and governor.

A personal journal kept by DeSantis, who is in counseling, indicates that early
last month he recalled alleged sexual encounters and connected them with
Urban. Previously, DeSantis said, he had recalled a fifth priest abusing him as a
boy but could not pinpoint the person's identity.

"I was watching some news footage and recognized a voice that sounded all too
familiar," DeSantis wrote in a journal that has been turned over to the diocese
and prosecutors. "I kept my head down because I wanted to hear the voice as I
knew it was the fifth man. Then when I was ready I looked up ... His name was
father Carl Urban. ... At the second I saw his face I immediately started to have
anxiety followed by a panic attack."

It's the second time Urban's name has surfaced in an abuse allegation. In 2004,
John Aretakis, who has represented alleged victims of pastoral abuse, publicly
accused Urban of a sexual incident with a boy in a public restroom 15 years
earlier. Aretakis also claimed Urban had received treatment at a pedophilia
treatment center for priests in Maryland.

Urban denied the allegations and filed a complaint with a state committee that
investigates attorney misconduct. Urban said the allegations by Aretakis were
libelous.

DeSantis is not affiliated with Aretakis, who was suspended from practicing law
in 2008.

In an earlier interview DeSantis said the abuse began when he was about age 9
and unfolded over a period of several years. He said that he recalled riding his
skateboard to Jupin's former apartment in Colonie Towers on Sand Creek Road.
He previously could not identify all of the priests that he said abused him there
but now says Urban was involved.

The Albany County District Attorney's Office has informed the diocese it cannot
pursue criminal charges in any of the cases because the allegations took place
too long ago.

DeSantis's allegations against Jupin, Douglas and Ophals are at least the second
time since 2003 they have been accused of sexual molestation. Bertolucci was
removed from the ministry in 2003 by Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard when
unrelated sexual abuse allegations against him were sustained by the church.
None of the priests were pursued criminally for the allegations, which in some
instances stretch back to at least the 1970s.

Jupin and Ophals are close friends. Douglas died in a nursing home in Delaware
earlier this year and had been suffering dementia. He had also faced sexual
abuse allegations in Delaware. An investigation by the Albany diocese cleared
the three priests of unrelated abuse allegations in 2004. They were returned to
ministry on a decision by Hubbard.

Now, an internal investigation by the diocese remains ongoing into the
allegations made by DeSantis against Jupin, Douglas, Ophals and Bertolucci.

Jupin, 73, was a popular priest at Our Lady of Mercy and known to host alcohol-
fueled parties at his apartment for young men and boys, according to two
people who attended them.

DeSantis has said he believes Jupin had "groomed" him over a period of years.
He said it started with touching and kisses before the abuse grew more serious
and he remembers occasions at Jupin's apartment where Douglas and Ophals
were present and allegedly took part in the abuse.

Timothy Sawicki, 51, filed the 2003 complaint against Jupin, Ophals and
Douglas that was later dismissed by the diocese. Sawicki said he learned from
reading a newspaper in 2004 that the priests had been cleared and reinstated
to ministry.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004.
Reproduce freely with attribution.




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Local Man Claims Childhood Molestation by Five Priests

By Dan Levy
WNYT
August 16, 2011

http://wnyt.com/article/stories/S2242091.shtml?cat=300



ALBANY - A local man who says he was sexually abused by no less than
five Catholic priests when he was a child, says he's still seeking justice
decades later, even though, he admits, justice may never come.

The story that Michael DeSantis tells through flashbacks and suppressed
memory is probably impossible to prove. For the five men accused of
molesting him, it's impossible to prove they didn't do it. That's part of the
reason the story is so troubling. That, and the fact that the accused men
are all men of God.

Although his childhood pictures may seem like they portray a happy
upbringing, Michael DeSantis says nothing could be father from the truth.
DeSantis, now 34, who grew up in Colonie, says he was molested by five

area priests over a period of years, beginning when he was nine years old.

"I trusted these men with everything," DeSantis says, "With my faith and
with my upbringing."

Last fall, DeSantis filed a complaint with the Roman Catholic Diocese of
Albany, naming four priests: Father Alan Jupin, Father Donald Ophals,
Father John Bertolucci, and Father Louis Douglas.

He says the abuse occurred inside Father Jupin's apartment at the Towers
of Colonie on Sand Creek Road and also at Our Lady of Mercy Church.

"I'm not that nine year old kid any more who was afraid at the time to tell
anybody," DeSantis says. "Now I'm 34 and I'm not afraid any more."

Just recently, DeSantis says he saw another priest, Father Carl Urban on
television, and added him to the complaint, after recognizing his voice.

"When you're a sexual abuse survivor, you'll never forget the voice,"
DeSantis insists. "Past the voice, you can hear the breathing on how they
would be with their satisfaction."

DeSantis insists the last thing he'd ever want to do is falsely accuse
anyone. He says he's one hundred percent sure the five men he mentioned
are the ones who abused him.

According to a written statement by the Albany diocese, Father Urban
strongly denies the allegations. Urban, who retired in January, has been
placed on administrative leave while the diocese investigates the charges.

"These men have almost took everything, but they haven't took my soul,"
DeSantis says.

With the alleged crimes well beyond the statute of limitations, and with
seemingly nothing to gain, you may wonder why Michael DeSantis is
coming forward now.

"I'm not looking for fifteen minutes of fame," he asserts, "I'm just trying to
almost switch from a survivor to become and advocate. I would love to
have each of them lined up where I can tell them how their abuse affected
my life."

72-year old retired priest, Father Carl Urban, had been the longtime pastor
at St. Adalbert in Schenectady. While on administrative leave he is
prohibited from acting as a priest, celebrating mass, or wearing clerical
garb.

Michael DeSantis' father is a former priest, who left the Albany diocese to
marry and raise a family. DeSantis says his father supports him all the way.


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2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.


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Priests Cleared of Sex Abuse Allegations

WNYT
November 22, 2011

http://wnyt.com/article/stories/S2383485.shtml?cat=300

ALBANY - Advocates and alleged victims of sex abuse by clergy
spoke out after five local priests are cleared of wrongdoing. The
Albany Roman Catholic Diocese says its sexual misconduct review
board found no reasonable grounds to substantiate the claims.

It was Michael DeSantis, 34, who came forward and said he
molested by the five priests for years beginning when he was just
nine years old in the 1980's.

"I have 100 percent clarity that they are the five men. I have no
second thoughts, no second doubt," DeSantis told Newschannel 13
back in August.

DeSantis, of Colonie, named Father Alan Jupin, Father Donald
Ophals, Father John Bertolucci, Father Louis Douglas and Father
Carl Urban as the abusers. On Tuesday, the Albany Roman Catholic
Diocese said there are no reasonable grounds to substantiate the
allegations.

"We still stand behind the victims and we believe they were
abused," said Mark Lyman who heads the local chapter of the
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Lyman questions how the Diocese came to the conclusion to clear
the five priests.

"As a victim, as an advocate, as a catholic, I question how an
organization can clear its own employees,"


The Diocese said everything was done by the book. The seven
month investigation was conducted by retired law enforcement.

"Number two, as a result of his previous investigations, we've
already removed several priests," said Albany Roman Catholic
Diocese Ken Goldfarb. "We also took an additional step where we
brought in judge [Albert M.] Rosenblatt, highly respected former
Court of Appeals judge."

Lyman believes cases of sexual abuse by priests should be handled
by active duty investigators. But he says some victims will never
get their day in court because of the statute of limitations in New
York State.

"We've always advocated to lift those statute of limitations so that
victims, regardless of when they were abused, can bring this
forward into a civil court and expose their abusers," Lyman said.

Fathers, Jupin, Ophals and Urban will return to active retired status
and will be able to fill in on Sundays mass. Bertolucci was
permanently removed from ministry based on unrelated sex abuse
allegations. Father Douglas passed away in May.


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2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.



FRANCISCAN
UNIVERSITY
OF STEUBENVILLE
May 30,2012
John Flaherty
P.O. Box 664
Grand Island, NE 68802
Dear John,
1235 University Boulevard
Steubenville, Ohio 43952-1763
740-283-3771
www.franciscan.edu
Yes, I do remember you and your family. Your sons whom I used to babysit must be
grown men with sons of their own by now! Time flies for sure. And, of course, I
remember your lovely song, "We Belong to God," and think of you as well as Danny
whenever I sing it. My family is well, though spread across the country. I'm looking
forward to a family reunion this summer that will help us reconnect in person.
To your question, John, I have enclosed a copy of Franciscan University's Uninvited
Visitor Policy that was recently approved by the administration. It does, indeed,
prohibit those, like Father John Bertolucci, who have been "adjudicated of or
admitted guilt to a charge of inappropriate sexual activity with a minor," from being
present on campus.
Father Bertolucci's last visit to campus came before this policy was in place, but he
now knows of the policy.
May the Lord bless you and your family.
Sincerely in Christ,

Lisa Ferguson d .
Public Relations Director
II
Uninvited Visitor Policy

OF
This Policy has been adopted by the members of the
President's Cabinet of Franciscan University of Steubenville.
POLICY ISSUED: April 2, 2012
The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines to prohibit invididual(s) that have been
adjudicated of or admitted guilt to a charge of inappropriate sexual activity with a minor as defined
by law of from being present on the campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville.
POLICY GUIDELINES
I. Intent of Policy
The University adopts and promulgates a policy dealing with the serious issue of inappropriate
activity with our youth under the age of 18 years by Roman Catholic Clergy and other professed
religious as well as lay people. Effective immediately, on adoption of this policy, any individual,
religious or lay, that either has been adjudicated or admitted to a charge of inappropriate sexual
activity with youth under the age of eighteen (18) years shall be permanently barred from
being present on the campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville. This policy is to be
strictly enforced. No invitation(s) shall be issued by any University personnel or entities
affiliated with the University inviting an inappropriate person to visit or participate in any
activities on this campus without the express permission of the President of the University.
Should any such prohibited individual(s) appear on campus uninvited, security personnel shall
be summoned to escort that individual(s) from the campus of the University forthwith.
This policy is approved and adopted by the vote of the President's Cabinet. The foregoing policy
was reviewed, adopted, and now effective, on this 2nd day of April, 2012.
Uninvited Visitor Policy
II

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