Child Abuse Victim Testifies Against Pedophile Janitor from His Deathbed
Dying Air Force vet wins emergency request to testify against man who raped him as a boy
A man dying of cancer was granted an emergency request, giving him the opportunity to testify from his deathbed against a pedophile school janitor who raped him as a boy.
55-year-old father-of-one Stephen Erickson, who had terminal skin cancer, testified in the case of historic child abuse against Eugene Hubert on December 12 from his hospital deathbed and died seven days later.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly last month granted an emergency request to let Erickson give a sworn statement to "preserve his testimony" for a lawsuit he wanted to file against the church which ran the school.
Erickson gave a sworn statement on video from his bed at Albany Medical Center on December 12 shortly before he died.
In a transcript obtained by the New York Post, Erickson accused Eugene Hubert, a janitor at St. Teresa of Avila School in Albany, of sexually assaulting him "three times a week."
Hubert “penetrated me in the men's room and boys’ room,” Erickson testified, saying the abuse was also oral.
“I want to talk to the jury,” said Erickson, an Air Force veteran and electrician whose marriage collapsed under the stress.
“It has ruined my life. Basically, this guy just ruined my life. … I lost my adolescence, just not growing up as a normal kid.”
A lawyer for the Roman Catholic Diocese attended the deposition.
A jury may now hear his taped testimony.
After years of opposition by the Catholic Church, the Child Victims Act is finally expected to be passed by the state Legislature on Monday and signed into law by Gov. Cuomo.
The law would extend the statute of limitations for New Yorkers bringing civil lawsuits for child sex-abuse to their 55th birthday.
The current law bars such suits after victims turn 23.
It would also open a one-year window for victims to sue — no matter how many years have passed since the abuse.
That provision will belatedly open the door for Erickson, who “waited his whole life for justice,” his lawyer Jeff Herman told The Post.
“Even though he was on his deathbed, he was determined to have his voice heard — even beyond his grave,” said Herman, who represents dozens of child sex-abuse victims.
Herman plans to file a lawsuit against the Diocese of Albany for Erickson’s estate. Erickson was divorced but had a son.
In court papers requesting the deposition, the Herman Law firm charges the diocese “should have known that Hubert posed a danger to commit sexual assault.”
Hubert died in 1997.
Several other men also claim they were sexually abused at St. Teresa’s, which closed about 10 years ago, by Hubert or Gary Mercure, a priest who was later de-frocked and sentenced to 24 years in a Massachusetts prison for raping boys, The Albany Times-Union reported.
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, appointed to lead the Albany diocese in 2014, has publicly acknowledged the church’s responsibility.
“The fact is, the heinous crimes of some within the church and our institutional failings shattered children’s lives and haunted survivors for decades,” he said.
"We did not do enough to protect God’s children and we must focus on rebuilding the trust we broke."