The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statements

Statement Regarding Diocese of Albany
Decision to Return 2 Priests to Ministry

For More Information:
Mark Furnish (518) 366-5842

March 7, 2004


Today is a shocking blow to Capital Region survivors of clergy sexual abuse. The announcement by Bishop Howard Hubbard that Fr. Donald Ophals, of St. Francis DeSales Church in Troy and Fr. Louis Douglas are returned to active ministry means that the children of the Capital District are at risk.

One thing needs to made clear: this dreadful decision, determined in the early Sunday morning hours while Capital Region was asleep, was made by the Albany Diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board without even bothering to meet and discuss the incident with the victim.

How can a review board, that didn't even find it important enough to ask the victim what happened, make such an important decision? Did they even consider the psychological impact such a decision would have on him? What, if any evidence, did the review board have to clear these priests of sexual abuse? Is Bishop Hubbard confident enough that Father Ophals and Father Douglas will never hurt another child? Why didn't Bishop Hubbard pick up the phone and notify the victim before the victim heard of this on the news?

Bishop Hubbard once again proves he has no understanding of the seriousness of the clergy sex abuse crisis in Capital Region because, if he did, he would have a transparent and open review board which investigated such matters under the public eye.

Bishop Hubbard is expending vast amounts of money to clear his own name. Yet he refuses to provide clergy abuse victims an open forum to discuss their own abuse. Bishop Hubbard appeared in Troy at a Catholic Mass to announce the triumphant return of Father Ophals yet, he couldn't find the time to grieve with the victim and his family.

And that is tragic.



Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests