Maryland AG probe identifies more than 150 priests accused of abuse in Baltimore Archdiocese

Maryland AG wants ‘justice for victims’ with release of report on 600+ children sexually abused by

Maryland AG wants ‘justice for victims’ with release of report on 600+ children sexually abused by


An investigation by Maryland’s attorney general has identified 158 Roman Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Baltimore who have been accused of sexually and physically abusing more than 600 victims over the past 80 years, according to court records filed Thursday.

Attorney General Brian Frosch announced that his office has completed a 463-page report on the investigation, which began in 2019.

He filed a motion in Baltimore Circuit Court to make the report public. said Fros CBS Baltimore On Thursday he hoped the release of the report would bring “accountability, change and a sense of justice for the hundreds of victims”.

“I would like to see justice for the victims, but at the very least, I think we want to tell the truth about this,” Frosh said.

More than 150 priests accused of abuse in Baltimore Archdiocese, new report says
David Lorenz, Maryland director of the Survivors Network of Priests Abused, speaks at a news conference on the sidewalk outside the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gathering in Baltimore on Nov. 16, 2022.

Peter Smith / AP

Court permission is required because the report contains information from grand jury subpoenas. It is unclear when the court will rule.

“For decades, survivors reported sexual abuse by Catholic priests, and for decades the Church covered up the abuse rather than holding abusers accountable and protecting its congregations,” according to the court filing. “The Archdiocese of Baltimore was no exception.”

The report, titled “Clergy Abuse in Maryland,” identifies 115 priests who have been prosecuted for sexual abuse and/or publicly identified by the Archdiocese as “credibly accused” of sexual abuse. It also includes an additional 43 priests who have been accused of sexual abuse but have not been publicly identified by the Archdiocese, the court filing said.

“The report summarizes the sexual abuse and physical torture committed by all 158 priests and the Archdiocese’s response to that abuse,” the court filing said.

In a letter released Thursday night, Archbishop William Laurie of Baltimore apologized “to the victim-survivors who were harmed by a minister of the Church and who were harmed by those who failed to protect them, who did not respond to them with care and compassion . and who failed to hold the perpetrators accountable for their sinful and criminal behavior.”

“In reading today’s sentence, we feel renewed shame, deep remorse and sincere sympathy, especially for those who have suffered from the actions of the representatives of the very church entrusted with their spiritual and physical well-being,” Lori wrote.

David Lorenz, the Maryland leader of the Priest Abuse Survivors Network, described the news of the report and the number of victims as “absolutely horrific.”

“Once again, the church lied about the number of abusive priests,” Lorenz said in a statement. “Many parishes were dumping grounds for predators, some housing nearly ten. It’s very clear that no one was safe. Sadly, it’s no different to any diocese or secular parish in the country.”

While the court filing noted that more than 600 victims were identified, it also said “there are nearly hundreds more, as the Department of Justice’s Annual Crime Victimization Report has shown that most sexual assault incidents go unreported.”

Both boys and girls were abused, according to the court filing, with ages ranging from preschool to adulthood.

“While no parish was safe, some churches and schools were assigned multiple abusive priests and some had more than one sexually abusive priest at the same time,” the court filing said. “Eleven priests who sexually abused over 40 years were assigned to a church.”

The sexual abuse was so pervasive, according to the court filing, that victims sometimes reported sexual abuse to priests who were the perpetrators themselves.

Frost said one of the purposes of the report is to “let the public know what’s going on so that people are informed, people report child abuse and we can stop the perpetrators.”

The investigation also revealed that the Archdiocese failed to report many allegations of sexual abuse, conduct adequate investigations into alleged abuse, remove abusers from ministry or limit their access to children.

“Instead, every effort was made to keep the abuse secret,” the court filing said. “While the Archdiocese reported a large number of complaints to the police, especially in later years, for decades it worked to ensure that perpetrators did not face justice.”

In the court filing, Frosh argues that “public exposure of the Church’s wrongdoing is critical to holding people and institutions accountable and improving how sexual abuse allegations are handled in the future.”

“Most importantly, it is vital to the protection of children and the entire community,” the filing said.

The court filing also noted that of the 43 priests who have not been publicized or prosecuted, 30 have died.

“For those priests who have died, this additional secrecy interest is less compelling,” the filing said.

The attorney general’s office has redacted all identifying information for the 13 living church officials who have been accused of sexual abuse but have not been listed as credibly accused by the archdiocese and have not been prosecuted.

In 2019, Frosh opened a criminal investigation into child sexual abuse committed by priests and other employees of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Hundreds of thousands of documents dating back to the 1940s were produced in response to grand jury subpoenas.

As part of its investigation, the attorney general’s office set up an email address and a hotline for people to report information. More than 300 hundred people contacted the office and investigators interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses.

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