MD--Predator priest – 1 of 6 at one parish – passes away
For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 18
One of at least six credibly accused Baltimore predator priests who worked at one Catonsville parish has died. And Baltimore’s archbishop, as best we can tell, kept this secret.
We are sad for the family Fr. Ross A. LaPorta, a predator priest who passed away on Feb. 8. But we are even sadder for those he victimized. And we are sad that Baltimore’s Catholic officials apparently told no one of Fr. LaPorta’s passing.
At the same time, we are relieved that Fr. LaPorta can no longer hurt kids. We hope this fact will bring some sorely-needed and long-overdue relief and consolation to all of those who have been assaulted by him.
Baltimore Archbishop William Lori should have disclosed Fr. LaPorta’s passing. That would have been an act of courage and compassion. That’s what a caring shepherd would have done. (There is apparently no mention whatsoever of Fr. LaPorta on the archdiocesan website or the St Mark’s website. The archdiocesan newspaper’s website features only a short story saying that Fr. LaPorta moved to South Carolina several years ago.)
Instead, Lori chose to do what Catholic officials have done for centuries with pedophile priests: as little as possible. Despite a 13 year old national church abuse policy that mandates “openness” about clergy sex crimes, Lori and his aides once again opted for self-serving secrecy over transparency. Shame on them.
We hope this child molesting cleric's death brings some degree of comfort and closure to those he has so severely hurt. And we hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by this priest will step forward and get help.
The others who also worked at St. Mark’s Catholic church in Catonsville are Fr. James Dowdy, Fr. Thomas Bauernfeind, Fr. Frederick Duke, Fr. David G. Smith and Fr. Charles Rouse.
Here’s what Baltimore Catholic officials disclosed in 2002 about LaPorta:
In 1999, an individual alleged sexual abuse by Ross LaPorta in the 1960s. In 1999, LaPorta was retired and living out of state. LaPorta denied the allegations. His faculties to perform ministry were removed. LaPorta served at St. Matthew from 1951 to 1963, at St. Charles Borromeo from 1963 to 1971, at St. Bernard (Baltimore) from 1971 to 1978, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Woodlawn) from 1978 to 1991 and at St. Mark (Catonsville) from 1991 until his retirement in 1998.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)