Maryland Attorney General Release Redacted Report on Clergy Abuse; SNAP Reacts
(For Immediate Release April 5, 2023)
Maryland’s Attorney General has released a long-awaited report on their investigation into Catholic clergy sexual abuse in their state. We're glad that the AG fought to release this report and hope that people throughout the region will read the report to better understand how and why clergy abuse and cover-ups were able to be perpetrated for so many decades
We are in complete awe of the brave victims who came forward to share their tragic experiences with the commission, they join a huge network of survivors who are changing the world and protecting others from these atrocities.
This report goes back as far as 80 years so this is a good picture of historical abuse. But we're most concerned about recent and ongoing abuse, and we hope that this news will encourage anyone who has been hurt by clergy in Maryland to come forward and get help.
The AG report contains more names of abusers than have been released publicly by church officials. We want Archbishop Lori to answer questions as to why his list is deficient and answer what was hidden from the public by church officials and why. Clearly, the AG has uncovered more information than MD church officials wanted to be made public. With our 35 years of experience, we know that church officials have long hidden abuse files from law enforcement officials in other states and we trust that previous A.G. Frosh and current A.G. Brown had complete access to those files for this report.
These are astonishing numbers that demand immediate reform within the Catholic Church in the U.S. and worldwide. Report after report, country after country, state after state, we learn of horrifying stories from survivors and of the devastating effects that abuse has had on victims. We also believe these staggering numbers should drive parishioners and the public to press for a stronger response from church officials and inspire other still-silent victims and witnesses to come forward. Based on this investigation and reports we have seen issued by other states and countries, we believe that there are likely many more survivors who have yet to step forward in Maryland, and we hope that this initial news will remind them that they are not alone and that there are people who will believe them and support them. We want victims to know that we at SNAP are here to help.
Getting abusers off the street is a key step toward protecting other children. But it is equally critical that powerful figures who used their role to support abusers instead of protecting children are identified to the public and pointed out to the public, police, and prosecutors for further investigation. Children will be safer when the public is aware of who enabled these abusers, minimized the allegations against them, and covered up their abuse. Exposing alleged perpetrators or Catholic officials who committed or concealed child sex crimes is a necessary step for survivors and victims' families to obtain a level of justice and for society to become safer.
We are relieved to know that the horrifying experiences of the survivors who spoke openly with investigators and who worried that their efforts would be in vain are now public. We believe disclosing the extent to which the Church went to shield information, and documenting the immense pain that the victims underwent as a result, will do much to ensure that these crimes never occur within the Catholic community in Maryland again.
We also implore the attorney general's office to maintain a reporting hotline since, after the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report was released, hundreds more victims came forward because of an office that took them seriously. We believe Maryland would have the same situation.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications ([email protected], 267-261-0578) David Lorenz, SNAP Maryland leader ([email protected], 301-906-9161), Becky Ianni, Virginia and DC SNAP leader ([email protected], (703) 801-6044) Zach Hiner, 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 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)