By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
Four months later, she received $2.2 million for the project. Hubbard got his name cleared.
"If anyone should have been pitied during Fr. Hoatson's parish assignments," Goodness writes in the December 14 statement, "it probably would have to be the pastors who had to put up with . . . Fr. Hoatson's 'malingering'shirking one's duty."
Hubbard spokesperson Kenneth Goldfarb has lashed out at the priest's Manhattan lawyer, John Aretakis, a leading foe of the bishop who has represented 100 or so people claiming they were molested by Albany clergymen (see "Who Would Take a Case Like This?"). "This is not the first time Mr. Aretakis has made those allegations," Goldfarb says, pinning the charge about Hubbard's alleged homosexuality on the lawyer, not his client. "This is all orchestrated by Mr. Aretakis. He has a long history of coming up with claims that have no basis in fact."
Two years ago, a flurry of allegations that Hubbard had sexual relationships with several men, including a teenage street hustler and three diocesan priests, rocked local churches. Hubbard, who denied the charges, called for an investigation, and his handpicked lay review board hired Mary Jo White, a respected former federal prosecutor in Manhattan. White was paid $2.2 million for a four-month inquiry that ended up clearing Hubbard of all accusations (see "About That White Report"). Aretakis represented the two main accusers.
Aretakis puts little credence in the investigation, calling it "the most expensive piece of fiction ever produced." He denounced White for essentially investigating her own client, and he and his clients refused to cooperate.
Now that similar allegations are written in a lawsuit, the landscape has changed. Now, Aretakis has the platform to try to prove themand he says he's prepared to do it. He says he's accumulated a list of priests and witnesses who have agreed to provide "firsthand evidence of the sexual proclivities" of Egan, Hubbard, and Myers, if subpoenaed. Some have written statements relaying "homosexual relationships with these bishops," he maintains; others know people who have had the affairs.
Aretakis declined to show the Voice any written documentation on the three bishops, saying, "I don't want to reveal my hand at a time when I don't need to." He describes the evidence against Egan and Myers as involving consensual contact with adult men. Egan has a sporadic history of gay affairs, Aretakis claims, most of them dating back to his time as a seminarian. The lawyer alleges Myers has had gay affairs more recently, some within the past five years.
For Hubbard, it's a different story. On the condition that his clients' identities be shielded, Aretakis allowed the Voice to view videotaped interviews with two men who allege they had sex with Hubbard for money as troubled teens, one in the 1970s, one in the early 1980s. Neither was included in the White investigation, though their allegations do resemble ones it ruled unfounded.
One of the men is now in prison and couldn't be reached before press time. The other, reached through Aretakis, told the Voice independently that the details on the tape are true and that he gave the testimony of his own free will. Now married and living upstate, he has sought help from Aretakis for a potential abuse case against an Albany priest who he says also paid him for sex and introduced him to Hubbard. He says he may sue Hubbard as well.
Goldfarb, Hubbard's spokeperson, refused to let the Voice speak to the bishop about the tapes. "He's been through the mill with this and there's no reason to go through any of this again," he said. Goldfarb again cited the White report, which he said fully cleared Bishop Hubbard. Allegations like these aren't unexpected, he saidindeed, the report predicted there would be more and advised viewing them with considerable skepticism. Read the report, he said, over and over, adding, "It's as if all this preponderance of evidence is being weighed against two people who haven't filed a lawsuit and who won't identify themselves at this time."
It's people like these two men, victims who are struggling to seek justice from the Catholic Church, whom Hoatson says he's aiming to help with his lawsuit. He's asking the courts for $5 million in damages, which he says he'd use for a 24-hour victims' ministry. The suit hinges on alleged harm done to him as a whistle-blower, but he says the real issue is that the bishops' sexual activities have compromised their ability to police predators.
"I have to tell the truth," he says. "I've gotten enough information to indicate that promiscuity on the part of these bishops is the reason they're covering up clergy abuse."
Whether his claims are true or not, Hoatson is making history. Richard Sipe, a former priest and scholar who has written about clergy sexual abuse and homosexuality in the Catholic Church, explains that it's rare for a priest to sue a bishop in court for retaliationhe has heard of only one case before this. It's almost unthinkable for a priest to say in court records that three of his area's top bishops are actively gay.