Daily New Miner, Fairbanks

March 8. 1994

Associated Press


"Ex-bishop says priests admit molestation"

A retired Roman Catholic bishop admitted Monday he did little after three priests privately confessed to sexually molesting boys.

James J. Hogan, bishop of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese from 1986 to 1987, said he later transferred the priests, but not because of molestation.

He said when he learned one priest was rubbing his penis on the bottom of the feet of young boys, he was not concerned the priest might be a pedophile.

"I did not recognize it as child molestation," he said.

The revelations came as Hogan was cross-examined in the trial of another priest, the Rev. Francis E. Luddy, who is accused in a lawsuit of molesting Michael Hutchison Jr. from 1978 to 1984.

Hutchison, now 27, claims the diocese and Hogan knew that priests were molesting boys and followed a policy of moving them from one parish to another. Hutchison is seeking unspecified damages from the diocese, Hogan, Luddy and a parish where Luddy served.

Luddy admitted in court earlier that he molested several boys, but said he never molested Hutchison. Hogan, 82, of Hollidaysburg earlier testified he did not learn about allegations against Luddy until Hutchison's mother told him in 1987.

Luddy was not one of the three priests who admitted to molestation, Hogan said. Two of the three priests have been suspended. Hogan said one of the three priests was transferred twice after parents complained In 1979 that he molested their children. It wasn't until five years later that the priest admitted hypnotizing children, removing their shoes and rubbing his penis on the bottom of their feet, he said.

The bishop said he warned the priest in a March 1987 letter to "cool it" with the boys because "the danger signs are up"' and that the diocese could be liable.