Maryland News (4/5/2023) – Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown today released the redacted “Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” which reflects the culmination of an intensive, four-year investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy and cover-up of that abuse by the leadership of the Catholic Church. The Archdiocese of Baltimore encompasses Baltimore City and nine counties in central and western Maryland (Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, and Washington counties).
The Report documents a long history of widespread abuse and systemic cover-up by clergy and others associated with the Church throughout the Archdiocese. Young people in some parishes were preyed upon by multiple abusers over decades, and clergy used the power and authority of the ministry to exploit the trust of the children and families in their charge. The Report also describes the repeated actions of those in positions of leadership to conceal and cover up the abuse, moving priests to other parishes, failing to investigate or report abuse to civilian law enforcement authorities, and providing financial support to priests in retirement. Finally, the Report recommends, as the General Assembly is on track to do this session with the Child Victims Act of 2023, that Maryland eliminate the statute of limitations that has prevented survivors from bringing civil actions against abusers and recovering damages for the harms they have suffered.
“This Report illustrates the depraved, systemic failure of the Archdiocese to protect the most vulnerable – the children it was charged to keep safe,” said Attorney General Brown. “Based on hundreds of thousands of documents and untold stories from hundreds of survivors, it provides, for the first time in the history of this State, a public accounting of more than 60 years of abuse and cover-up. Time and again, the Archdiocese chose to safeguard the institution and avoid scandal instead of protecting the children in its care. This Report shines a light on this overwhelming tragedy, and it was the courage of the survivors that made it possible.”
The Attorney General’s investigation into criminal allegations of child sexual abuse and cover-up efforts was launched in 2018. The Grand Jury of Baltimore City issued subpoenas to the Archdiocese of Baltimore, as well as to individual parishes, religious orders, and St. Mary’s Seminary. In response, hundreds of thousands of documents dating back to the 1940s were produced over a four-year period, including treatment reports, personnel records, transfer reports, and policies and procedures. The attorneys and investigators of this Office reviewed these documents and interviewed hundreds of survivors and their family members, and other witnesses, to uncover and document the systemic abuse and its cover-up by the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The Office created an email address and telephone hotline for individuals to report information about clergy abuse, receiving tips from over 300 people, including survivors and witnesses.
Included in the Report are 156 current or former Catholic clergy, seminarians, deacons, members of Catholic religious orders, teachers at Catholic schools, and other employees of the Archdiocese known to the Attorney General’s Office to have been the subject of credible allegations of child sexual abuse committed in the Archdiocese of Baltimore or to have relocated to the Archdiocese in the wake of child sexual abuse committed in other dioceses. The Report details the abuse known to have been committed by these individuals, and the actions – and failures to act – of Archdiocesan officials in response. The Report also identifies 43 other clergy who served in some capacity or resided within the Archdiocese but who committed sexual abuse outside the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Per order of the court, the Office of the Attorney General has redacted the names and identifying information of persons named in the Report who are living, who were identified solely or primarily through review of documents provided in response to the grand jury subpoenas, and who the Report accuses of “hiding abuse, enabling abuse, assisting in the cover-up of abuse, or protecting abusers from the consequences of their action.” People whose identities are redacted will be notified and given an opportunity to review the portions of the Report that identify them, and to file objections with the court. After those objections are received, the court will decide whether to permit another release of the Report without redactions or with more limited redactions. Individuals whose identities are redacted are not necessarily accused in the Report of criminal misconduct.
Attorney General Brown thanks former Attorney General Brian Frosh, former Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Embry, former Assistant Attorney General Carrie Williams, Chief of Criminal Division Katie Dorian, Criminal Appeals Deputy Chief for Legal Affairs Jer Welter, Investigator Richard Wolf, and many others in the Office who worked tirelessly to make this Report possible. Most important, Attorney General Brown expresses profound appreciation for the survivors who exhibited such bravery and courage in coming forward to tell their stories and share their experiences.
The Office of the Attorney General encourages those who haven’t yet, but may be ready to do so now, to reach out to report past abuse by members of the clergy by calling 410-576-6312 or emailing email@example.com.
This Report is for informational purposes only. It is based on material obtained from the Office of the Attorney General email and phone hotline, victim and witness interviews, open-source media, electronic documents provided by the Archdiocese of Baltimore in response to Grand Jury subpoenas, and reporting letters from the Archdiocese. It contains detailed descriptions of sexual abuse and other sexual misconduct against children. The accusations of wrongdoing described in this Report do not constitute findings of guilt.
Download link for Full Report:
Original article by Maryland Attorney General’s Office