In a 2021 article for the Times Union, Hubbard admitted to mishandling sexual abuse allegations against priests while he was bishop. He said the diocese did not notify law enforcement when certain allegations were made.
Hubbard defended his record dealing with abuse, writing “in the 1970s and 1980s, when an allegation of sexual misconduct against a priest was received, the common practice in the Albany Diocese and elsewhere was to remove the priest from ministry and send him for counseling and treatment.”
“Only when a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist determined the priest was capable of returning to ministry without reoffending did we consider placing him back in ministry. While most priests who were so treated did not reoffend, it did not always work,” he said.
Hubbard wrote that it was a “mistake” to not notify the public or the parish when a priest was removed.
In that same article, he touted many improvements the diocese made in protecting children against sexual abuse, such as instituting a diocesan review board, hiring a victims’ assistance coordinator, creating a more rigorous application process for the seminary, and conducting background checks on diocesan staff and volunteers.
“While we never condoned, ignored, or took lightly sexual abuse of minors, we did not respond as quickly, as knowledgeably, and as compassionately as we should have, and for that, I am sincerely sorry,” he wrote.
At the time of his death, Hubbard faced a Vatican-ordered investigation into allegations that he committed sexual abuse in 1977, soon after his installation as bishop.
Hubbard also faced sexual misconduct allegations in 2004, which resulted in a diocesan-funded investigation.
An independent investigator, former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White, issued a report clearing Hubbard of sexual misconduct allegations that he led a gay lifestyle, the New York Times reported.
Hubbard was ordained a priest of the Albany Diocese on Dec. 18, 1963. Pope Paul VI appointed him a bishop in 1977 at the age of 37.