N.Y. victim settles a hard-fought case against a former priest and the Diocese of Albany
(For Immediate Release July 7, 2022)
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany paid $750,000 to a 47-year-old Saratoga County man who was allegedly sexually abused for over a decade by former Albany priest, 73-year-old Mark A. Haight, of Schenectady. Haight, who was ordained in 1976 and stands accused of sexually abusing boys for more than a decade.
We applaud the strength and courage of the victim in this hard-fought case. We can't help but notice that it took 13 different demands for church officials to produce the alleged abusers' work history and other "secret files”. Once again, transparency and accountability are nowhere to be found after the promise made by the USCCB in the Dallas Charter 20 years ago.
The agreement, in this case, was reached just a week after Bishop Scharfenberg threatened bankruptcy if this settlement was accepted. Clearly, the Diocese of Albany isn't as broke as the bishop claims, especially if the diocese can settle this case while staring down about 380 others that no doubt will have similar facts and patterns.
In his public letter last week, Scharfenberger referenced the high cost of lawyers and processing as a reason for victims to agree to a mediation program. To us, this mediation proposal is no doubt designed to keep eliminate current litigants and high-figure settlements. It also goes against the very grain of why the Child Victim’s Act (CVA) was passed. Allowing victims their day in court to expose the irreparable harm done to them is an essential piece of justice and closure. Bishop Scharfenberger wants to bypass this process.
Imagine all the secrets wrested about former priest Haight and the many that sit in waiting against other named defendant priests and religious held in secrecy. When it takes 13 discovery requests to acquire a simple work and health history, it is a revealing sign that church officials want little to be known about abuse cases and again disrespect victims and their rights under the CVA.
The silver lining here is that so soon after Scharfenbergers insincerity, we can see a wolf is still parading as a sheep.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)