Attorney General Investigation finds 600 Victims of Clergy Abuse in Maryland; SNAP reacts
(For Immediate Release November 17, 2022)
A four-year long investigation into clergy sexual abuse in Maryland has revealed that hundreds of children were sexually abused for years by priests assigned to the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the church actively helped to cover up many of the abuses, according to leaked details from a sealed report authored by the Maryland Attorney General.
While the report found more than 600 victims, there are “almost certainly” hundreds more, according to a motion filed Thursday in Baltimore Circuit Court by attorneys in the office of Attorney General Brian Frosh. Additionally, at least 158 Catholic priests have been accused of sexual abuse, including 43 priests whom the archdiocese never publicly identified.
Attorney General Brian Frosh has filed a motion to unseal the grand jury report and release it to the public, warning that the report will detail horrific crimes and callous disregard for the safety of innocent children. However, knowledge of past crimes is only valuable if used to prevent future sexual abuse and cover-ups.
We challenge Baltimore Archbishop Lori and other church officials to do more than say they are open and transparent; we want them to start doing it. It would be a dagger to victims should the Archdiocese petition to block a release, and so we call on church officials to work with A.G. Frosh, not against him and ensure that this report is released to the public.
Maryland SNAP Leader David Lorenz said, “This news of the report and the numbers of victims is absolutely horrendous. We feel for every victim who has suffered. Once again, the church has lied about the number of abusive priests. Many parishes were dumping grounds for predators, some housed almost ten. It is very clear that nobody was safe. Sadly, it is no different than any diocese or secular report in the country.”
More must be done to ensure that children in Maryland are safe and that survivors can seek justice in a court of law. For the past several years, the statute of limitations reform has stymied in the Maryland legislature. We hope that this report will underscore the importance of this reform and spur lawmakers to act now to open the courthouse doors to all survivors of these heinous crimes and cover-ups, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. Legislators need to lift the civil and criminal statute of limitations for child sex crimes and open a window of opportunity for older victims to file a lawsuit to expose the truth, name perpetrators and enablers, and obtain justice.
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)