Catholic leaders named in cover-ups remain active in parish ministries, boards in Baltimore archdiocese

Baltimore Sun [Baltimore MD]

May 11, 2023

By Lee O. Sanderlin and Jonathan M. Pitts

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Monsignor Richard “Rick” Woy is head pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Crofton, Monsignor J. Bruce Jarboe is head pastor at St. Ann in Hagerstown and Monsignor G. Michael Schleupner regularly leads services at Our Lady of Grace in Parkton. All have celebrated Mass since The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday they were part of the hierarchy blamed in a Maryland Attorney General’s Office investigation about how the archdiocese handled abuse cases over decades.

In addition to his role as a pastor, Woy — whose identity in the public version of the report is redacted as “Official B” and is mentioned at least 56 times — remains a member of the board of directors for Mercy Ridge, a Catholic-run senior living community in Timonium.

The facility is owned 50-50 between the archdiocese and Mercy Health Services Inc., the entity that owns Mercy Medical Center. Archbishop William Lori appoints four of the facility’s 10 board members and is able to remove his appointees at any time, according to a 2021 tax filing for the retirement home.

Woy resigned Friday from the board of directors at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson after The Sun identified him. Hospital administrators have not given a reason for his resignation and have declined to answer questions about it.

Jarboe, identified as “Official A” in the report, is on the board of trustees for St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore (Lori is the board chair) and is an ex officio member of the St. Maria Goretti Catholic High School board of trustees in Hagerstown.

In an appointment announced in March, Jarboe will take the post of head pastor in July at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Towson.

Officials with the archdiocese declined Wednesday to answer questions about the men’s roles in active ministry going forward and about Jarboe and Woy’s status as board members at the Catholic institutions.

Schleupner celebrated Mass on Wednesday in Parkton; an archdiocesan spokesperson on hand declined to make him available for an interview. Identified as “Official E” in the attorney general’s report, Schleupner is named in the unredacted report 50 times for instances in which he was involved in internal investigations of abuse allegations.

A former archdiocesan chancellor (the right-hand man to the presiding cardinal or archbishop), Schleupner and the Most Rev. Francis Malooly were often not forthcoming with law enforcement about the extent of abuses by priests, according to the report.

Malooly, or “Official C” in the attorney general’s redacted report, was the most prominent of the five and eventually was made bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, where he served from 2007 until retiring in 2021.

Monsignor George D. Moeller, or “Official D” in the report, is retired and lives at Mercy Ridge.

A group of survivor advocates demanded Monday that the church revoke the power of all five to perform ministry. Speakers at their news conference called on the Baltimore-area’s half-million Catholics to “take charge” and call their pastors and the archdiocese offices to request new leadership in the officials’ parishes.

One lifelong Catholic, Michael DeVincentis, grew up as an altar boy at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, attended Loyola Blakefield and has been worshipping every Sunday at Immaculate Conception. But when he learned Jarboe was transferring to the parish, DeVincentis emailed Immaculate Conception his resignation from the parish. He did not receive a response.

“It’s just not right,” said DeVincentis, a financial adviser, about the decision to keep the five men in active ministry. “Once they start naming names and there are no consequences … If I make errors of that magnitude, they will take my license away and I’m done.”

DeVincentis said in an interview Wednesday that he is angry that the archdiocese continues to support the wrongdoers in its ranks.

“They’ve just done egregious acts and we pay for their room and board at Mercy Ridge?” he said. “My mother lived at Mercy Ridge.”

While he’s not sure what he will do in the long term when it comes to finding a new church, the now ex-Immaculate Conception parishioner said he won’t let his faith waiver.

“I refuse to let this have a negative impact on my personal relationship with God,” DeVincentis said.

At Immaculate Conception on Sunday, worshipper William Keenan said he would stop attending if Jarboe comes to the parish.

Keenan said it can be hard to maintain a Catholic identity amid revelations of abuse and coordinated efforts to shield priests from accountability. He said he only started going to Mass again about a year ago.

Keenan also said the men involved should apologize for their roles.

“There can’t be any forgiveness without an apology,” Keenan said.

Monsignor G. Michael Schleupner celebrating Mass on Wednesday at Our Lady of Grace in Parkton. (Jonathan M. Pitts)

Schleupner made no mention during his homily Wednesday of the attorney general’s report, although he discussed how Christians can deal with what he called “dark and difficult times.” Citing a passage in the Book of John, Schleupner said Jesus asks followers to “remain” in him through prayer and reading of the Bible and that such practices mean that “our lives can be full and effective” no matter one’s circumstances.

”What emerges here is that despite our failures, despite our human imperfections despite our feelings of emptiness at times … despite all that, we are in Christ and Christ is in us,” he said.

Several worshippers declined to be interviewed, and some rushed away from Sun reporters outside the sanctuary afterward. The few who did speak sided strongly with Schleupner.

One parishioner, who declined to give his name, called the media unfair for “digging up” reports on sexual abuse that “happened decades ago.” He said the attorney general’s report should be viewed with skepticism because the office is “a liberal bastion” that “hates the Catholic Church.”

The product of a four-year investigation, the attorney general’s report relies on internal church documents and interviews with victims and abusers to reveal how clergy and other members of the archdiocese sexually abused more than 600 children and young adults. The report also explains how the church worked to silence victims and enabled bad actors to molest again.

The Sun reviewed court records, church directories and newspaper articles to piece together details that helped reveal the five officials’ identities. People with knowledge of their conduct at the time or who are familiar with the report confirmed The Sun’s reporting. Church officials have not challenged The Sun’s reporting on the men’s identities.

Longtime Our Lady of Grace parishioners Marsha and Lee Danielczyk of Monkton said they knew little of The Sun’s reporting on Schleupner, and had heard no discussion of it within the parish. Both said the pastor’s work is so exemplary they found the reports surprising.

”I’m not saying things didn’t happen, but Father Schleupner is one of the best priests I know,” Marsha Danielczyk said. “He’s soft-spoken and well versed. He explains the Gospels so clearly and effectively. He’s an angel. That’s why I’m sure there has to be more to the story” behind any decisions he might have made.

”People react to things differently,” her husband, Lee Danielczyk, added. “A decision may not, in some ways, have been as bad as it seems looking back. I mean, who knows? If you weren’t there and involved in the process, I don’t know that you do know.”

Baltimore Sun reporters Maya Lora and Jean Marbella contributed to this article.

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