Archdiocese of Baltimore funds legal fees for 'anonymous group' seeking to seal court proceedings
(For Immediate Release November 29, 2022)
After saying it would not oppose the release of a report detailing decades of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Maryland, the Archdiocese of Baltimore is helping to pay lawyers for an anonymous group that’s asked a city judge to keep secret arguments over whether to make the document public. A spokesperson for the archdiocese confirmed Monday to The Baltimore Sun that the church was paying, at least in part, the fees of Gregg Bernstein and William J. Murphy, two white-collar defense attorneys.
It is becoming clearer, and with no surprise to us, that Archbishop William Lori is deliberately deceptive. In a homily, shortly after Attorney General Frosh’s request to release the report, Lori said, ‘And as I said in my letter to the faithful of the archdiocese last Thursday, I pledge to continue to do everything possible to ensure that no one in the church’s care is ever again harmed by a representative of the church.’
These remarks illustrate that Lori is out of touch with reality but perfectly in line with the stance taken by other church officials on ‘truth and transparency’ followed by ‘I pledge,’ neither of which are honest remarks. We suspect that Archbishop Lori has signed the check for these legal fees.
In 2018 and 2019, Archbishop William Lori handpicked Gregg Bernstein, Esq. to a team that investigated sexual misconduct allegations made against former Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, diocese Bishop Michael Bransfield. Lori, then Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, went all the way to the United States Supreme Court in 2009 to keep sealed documents on clergy sex abuse and lost that fight.
This tells us and any reasonable person that church officials do not want the truth to be known. We’ll call this for what it is, an act of stunning callousness that is deceptive and harmful. It hides key information, hurts victims, and helps no one. When it comes to clergy sexual abuse, the Catholic Church's playbook has been to fight, deny, and delay. No victim's truth is less important than another's, and no criminal act is less heinous. If the church is to be transparent and accountable, the truth must be revealed.
We echo the statement given to the Baltimore Sun by Maryland SNAP Leader David Lorenz, “They make the statement they’ll do everything they can to help abuse victims,” Lorenz said. “They say one thing and do another. This is so typical.”
CONTACT: David Lorenz, Maryland SNAP Leader ([email protected] 301-906-9161) Becky Ianni, Virginia SNAP Leader [email protected], 703-801-6044) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)