AP

Maryland probe finds 158 abusive priests, over 600 victims

Nov 17, 2022, 12:55 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 10:54 am

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — An investigation by Maryland’s attorney general 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 Frosh 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. Court permission is required because the report contains information from grand jury subpoenas. It’s unclear when the court will make a decision.

“For decades, survivors reported sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests and for decades the Church covered up the abuse rather than holding the 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 were prosecuted for sex abuse and/or identified publicly by the archdiocese as having been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse. It also includes an additional 43 priests accused of sexual abuse but not identified publicly by the archdiocese, the court filing said.

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

In a letter released Thursday evening, Archbishop William Lori 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 failed to respond to them with care and compassion and who failed to hold abusers accountable for their sinful and criminal behavior.”

“Upon reading today’s motion, we feel renewed shame, deep remorse and heartfelt sympathy, most especially to those who suffered from the actions of representatives of the very Church entrusted with their spiritual and physical well-being,” Lori wrote.

David Lorenz, the Maryland leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, described the news of the report and numbers of victims as “absolutely horrendous.”

“Once again, the church has lied about the number of abusive priests,” Lorenz said in a statement. “Many parishes were dumping grounds for predators, some housed almost ten. It is very clear that nobody was safe. Sadly, it is no different than any diocese or secular report in the country.”

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

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

“Although no parish was safe, some congregations and schools were assigned multiple abusive priests, and a few had more than one sexually abusive priest at the same time,” the court filing said. “One congregation was assigned eleven sexually abusive priests over 40 years.”

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

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

“Instead, it went to great lengths to keep the abuse secret,” the court filing said. “While the Archdiocese reported a large number of allegations to police, especially in later years, for decades it worked to ensure that the perpetrators would not face justice.”

In the court filing, Frosh argues that “publicly airing the transgressions of the Church is critical to holding people and institutions accountable and improving the way sexual abuse allegations are handled going forward.”

“More importantly, it is vital to protecting children an the entire community,” the filing said.

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

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

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

In 2019, Frosh launched a criminal investigation of child sexual abuse perpetrated 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 created an email address and telephone hotline for people to report information. Over 300 hundred people contacted the office, and investigators interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

8 hours ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

7 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

8 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

10 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

10 days ago

(Pexels photo)...

Associated Press

Baby in Kansas City, Missouri, dies after her mother mistakenly put her in an oven

An infant in Missouri died when her mother mistakenly put her down for a nap in an oven, a prosecutor said Saturday.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Maryland probe finds 158 abusive priests, over 600 victims