The final name removed from the Maryland report on Catholic sex abuse is that of a Philadelphia nun.
(For Immediate Release June 13, 2023)
According to the Baltimore Banner, a former Catholic nun from Philadelphia who died 31 years ago is the last accused whose name was redacted from the Maryland Attorney General’s report on child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The Banner came to this conclusion by examining census records, obituaries, and documents from the sister's religious order.
Catherine Agnes Hasson joined the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia in 1943, lived at the group’s headquarters there for one year, and taught first grade at St. Katharine School in East Baltimore for one year, the order confirmed. She left religious life in 1945, shortly before she would have professed her vows. We believe that her name should be included on the accused lists for both the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, as well as on a list for her religious order.
The former Sister Joan Agnes, the religious name of Ms. Hasson, was apparently redacted from the recently released Maryland Attorney General report. We are mystified as to why the identity of this nun would need to be concealed when she died decades ago. To us, this is just another example of an accused religious figure who not only escaped criminal prosecution, but whose name has been concealed from the faithful and the public. When the names of the accused are hidden, other victims are prevented from learning that they were not alone and that what happened was not their fault, the first step on any healing journey.
Our own nun abuse contact, Mary Dispenza, has been working for years to shed light on sexual abuse by women religious. Nuns certainly had more access to vulnerable young lives on a daily basis than clergy, but their crimes remain shrouded in mystery. Catholic sisters, like Catholic priests, should be held accountable. We believe that every diocese should include accused nuns on their lists of abusers, and every order of sisters should publish a list of accused members on their websites. In addition, a global database should be constructed by the Catholic Church. These lists should include photos, religious as well as legal names, and complete assignment histories, from formation to permanent vows. Furthermore, if the accused has left religious life, their current or last known whereabouts should be included.
The openness and transparency promised in the Dallas Charter demand nothing less.
Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), 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 more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)