An investigation by the Maryland attorney general has identified 158 Roman Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Baltimore accused of sexually and physically abusing more than 600 victims over the past 80 years, according to court records filed Thursday. in accordance.
Attorney General Brian Frosch announced that his office has completed a 463-page report on the investigation that began in 2019.
He filed a motion in Baltimore Circuit Court to make the report public. The seller saidThursday’s release of the report is expected to bring accountability, change and justice for hundreds of victims.
“I want to see justice for the victims, but at the very least, I think we want to tell the truth about it,” Frosch said.
Court authorization is required because the report includes information from the grand jury’s subordinates. It is not clear when the court will rule.
According to court filings, “For decades, survivors reported being sexually abused by Catholic priests and for decades the Church covered up the abuse rather than holding abusers accountable and protecting its congregants.” ” “The Archdiocese of Baltimore was no exception.”
The report, titled “Priest Abuse in Maryland,” identified 115 priests who had been prosecuted for sexual abuse and/or publicly identified by the archdiocese as “credible” for sexual abuse. were accused. That includes an additional 43 priests who have been accused of sexual abuse but have not been publicly identified by the archdiocese, court filings said.
“The report summarizes sexual abuse and physical abuse by all 158 priests and the archdiocese’s response to the abuse,” the court filing said.
In a letter released Thursday evening, Baltimore Archbishop William Lowry apologized to “survivors who were harmed by a church minister and 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.”
Lowry wrote, “Reading today’s motion, we feel a new shame, deep remorse, and heartfelt sympathy, especially for those who have suffered the actions of church representatives responsible for their spiritual and physical well-being. ”
David Lorenz, abuse leader through the Maryland Survivors Network of Priests, called the news of the report and the number of victims “absolutely horrifying.”
“Once again, the Church has lied about the number of abusive priests,” Lorenz said in a statement. “Many parishes were dumping grounds for hunters, some with as many as ten houses. It is quite clear that no one was safe. Sadly, this is no different to any diocese or secular report in the country.”
While the court filing noted that more than 600 victims have been identified, it also said that “there are certainly hundreds more, as the Department of Justice’s annual Crime Victimization Report has shown. Most incidents go unreported.”
According to court filings, both boys and girls, ranging in age from preschool through adolescence, were abused.
“Although no parish was safe, some congregations and schools were assigned more than one abusive pastor, and some had more than one sexually abusive pastor at the same time,” the court filing said. I was told. “A congregation was assigned eleven sexually abusive priests over 40 years.”
Court filings said the abuse was so widespread that victims were sometimes reporting the abuse to priests who were themselves perpetrators.
One of the goals of the report is to “let the public know what’s going on, so people are aware, people will report child abuse, and we can stop the perpetrators,” Frost said.
The investigation also revealed that the archdiocese failed to report many allegations of sexual abuse, properly investigate alleged abuse, remove abusers from ministry or limit 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 the police, particularly in later years, it worked for decades to ensure that perpetrators did not face justice.”
In court filings, Frosh argued that “publicly airing church violations is critical to holding people and institutions accountable and improving the way sexual abuse allegations are pursued.”
“More importantly, it is vital to the safety of children and the entire community,” the filing said.
Of the 43 priests who have not been publicly identified or prosecuted, 30 have died, according to court filings.
“For priests who have died, this additional privacy interest is less compelling,” the filing states.
The attorney general’s office redacted all identifying information for 13 living church officials who have been accused of sexual abuse, but who have not been reliably listed as accused by the archdiocese, and who No case has been prosecuted.
In 2019, Frosh opened a criminal investigation into sexual abuse of children 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. More than 300 people contacted the office, and investigators interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses.