CARDINAL THEODORE MCCARRICK kissing Pope John Paul II after receiving the red biretta during a consistory ceremony in St. Peter’s Square in 2001. (CNS photo)
CARDINAL THEODORE MCCARRICK kissing Pope John Paul II after receiving the red biretta during a consistory ceremony in St. Peter’s Square in 2001. (CNS photo)

In his six and a half years as Bishop of Albany, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has been a national leader in responding to the clergy abuse crisis. He published a list of offenders in the Diocese five years ago, was among the first bishops in the country to call for an independent lay-led investigation of the scandal involving former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, revamped the independent Diocesan Review Board, and established a predominantly lay task force on sexual abuse in 2019 to make recommendations to the Diocese on its response to survivors and its internal policies. In 2019, he held a prayer service for survivors of clergy abuse at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany and continues to promote outreach to survivors on both a parish and diocesan level. You can find all of Bishop Scharfenberger’s statements and columns related to the sexual abuse crisis on the Bishop’s page of the diocesan website. 

LIST OF OFFENDERS 

In November 2015, Bishop Scharfenberger proactively published a list of all known clergy offenders — living and deceased — on the diocesan website. It was announced in our diocesan newspaper, The Evangelist. At the time, Bishop Scharfenberger was one of only a handful of bishops in the country to take this step. You can find that list at www.rcda.org/offenders. The list of 50 names includes all Diocese of Albany clergy who have been removed from ministry and those who were deceased or resigned prior to credible findings by the Diocesan Review Board of sexual misconduct with a minor. The Diocese continues to add names to the list if/when cases are brought to our independent Diocesan Review Board for investigation. 

SAFE ENVIRONMENT 

Since 2002, the Diocese of Albany has conducted 38,381 background checks on staff and volunteers. Since 2002, 37,900 individuals have completed Virtus (safe environment training) at least once. This includes priests, deacons, parish life directors, parish and diocesan employees, school staff and all volunteers. In 2020, the Diocese also moved to a fully online awareness training, diocesan-wide children’s training program, and new codes of conduct for clergy, employees and volunteers. For Child Protection resources, visit our Protecting Children page.

TOTAL NUMBERS

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany has provided compensation to close to 100 survivors of sexual abuse whose cases were beyond the statute of limitations. The Diocese paid a total of more than $9 million in direct compensation and counseling assistance to survivors and continues to provide compensation and assistance on a case-by-case basis, according to the protocols outlined in our Independent Mediation Assistance Program (See details below).

IMAP

Our Independent Mediation Assistance Program was the first of its kind in the state and one of the first in the nation when it was announced by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard in 2004. This program helped survivors take the next step toward healing. The program was developed by retired New York Court of Appeals Judge Howard Levine, who served as the program’s administrator. The program was funded by the Diocese of Albany, and assistance totaling nearly $3 million was provided to more than 40 individuals during the course of the official program, which ran for two years. The Diocese continues today to provide financial support, counseling and other assistance based on the procedures and protocols of the IMAP program to individuals who were sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese. — RCDA