Probe of Baltimore Archdiocese finds over 600 clergy sex abuse victims

In court filing, attorney general’s office said there are “almost certainly hundreds more” and that church leaders failed to report many allegations or remove abusers

25 November 2022

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

The Washington Post reports:

A nearly four-year investigation of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore tallied more than 600 young victims of clergy sexual abuse over 80 years, a court filing by the Maryland attorney general said Thursday. The probe, the second in the country by a state prosecutor, after Pennsylvania’s, seeks to bring accountability and detail to cases long covered up or shrouded by statutes of limitation.

The filing says the report identifies 115 priests who have already been prosecuted or identified by the church as “credibly accused,” and that it includes an additional 43 priests “accused of sexual abuse but not identified publicly by the Archdiocese.” That is 158 priests.

The New York Times reports:

The Maryland report found that “no parish was safe,” according to the filing from the office of Attorney General Brian Frosh. Both boys and girls were abused, ranging in age from preschool to “young adulthood,” which a spokeswoman for the attorney general said reached to age 18.

The filing says the Archdiocese failed to report many allegations of “sexual abuse and physical torture” and neglected to remove accused priests from active ministry or even restrict their access to children. Some congregations and schools had more than one abusive priest there at the same time. “The sexual abuse was so pervasive that victims were sometimes reporting sexual abuse to priests who were perpetrators themselves,” the filing states. One congregation was assigned 11 abusers over 40 years.

“Reading the report in its entirety made me physically ill,” Mr. Frosh said. “We may be looking at the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a very big tip.”

“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,” says the report. “The Archdiocese of Baltimore was no exception.”

While the report 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”.

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