Investigation Uncovers Abuse Accusations Against Priests in Maryland
(ConservativeHub.com) – While visiting Canada in July, Pope Francis issued a blanket apology for sexual abuse committed by clergy against “minors and vulnerable people.” For many, the admission and apology enabled a path to healing. On November 17, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh released a press statement notifying the public of his motion to publicly disclose information his office obtained from the Archdiocese of Baltimore through subpoenas. He’s seeking to release a 463-page report about child abuse within the Archdiocese covering accusations and claims of sexual crimes by clergy in the state and how the church leaders handled the situations over decades.
The AG’s office began the investigation in 2019 and uncovered credible accusations of sexual or physical abuse against 115 priests and undocumented accusations against an additional 43 others who remained unidentified in Church records. In total, more than 600 victims lodged allegations against 158 priests over the course of 80 years.
Maryland probe finds 158 abusive priests, over 600 victims https://t.co/JEkoQXx2r1
— KSAT 12 (@ksatnews) November 18, 2022
Based on Archdiocese records, the Church failed to keep those known or accused of impropriety away from children, focused on maintaining secrecy, and moved suspected perpetrators to different parishes.
On the same day AG Frosh filed his motion, Archbishop William Lori issued a response apologizing to the victims for the abuse and the coverups and acknowledging the information, if made public, would cause pain for many people. The archbishop stated the Archdiocese adopted a zero-tolerance policy, forwarding all reports of crimes to law enforcement authorities.
Numbers have decreased since the Dallas Charter of the 2002 US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) established the Church’s zero-tolerance policy and procedures to deal with clergy abusers. Still, a USCCB-commissioned report in 2004 revealed the magnitude of the problem. Between 1950 and 2002, more than 10,500 people accused almost 4400 priests of child molestation nationwide, according to a report from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York commissioned by the USCCB.
AG Frosh’s investigation shed light in dark places and allowed victims to come forward to seek justice. Will the resulting transparency keep people, especially children, safer?
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