Names of accused in Maryland AG’s sex abuse report on Baltimore Archdiocese are released

Baltimore basilica Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Baltimore. | Credit: Kevin Jones/CNA

The Maryland attorney general’s office on Tuesday released an unredacted report on child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore that names most of the individuals accused. 

The report outlines a four-year investigation that alleges more than 600 children were abused by 156 people, most of whom have died. The allegations span a period beginning in the 1940s through 2002.

The report was originally issued in April but 46 names were redacted, per an order by Baltimore City Circuit Court. Seven names remain redacted, including five “senior members of the archdiocese,” who were among the Church leadership that the report said helped “cover up” the abuse.

Response from the Archdiocese of Baltimore

In a statement to CNA, the Archdiocese of Baltimore said the report is a “sad and deeply painful history tied to the tremendous harm caused to innocent children and young people by some ministers of the Church.”

The statement called for prayers for all survivors of abuse, especially child sexual abuse. The archdiocese has offered its full cooperation and support throughout the entirety of the legal process, the statement said. 

“At the same time, we believed that those named in the report had a right to be heard as a fundamental matter of fairness,” the statement said. 

“In today’s culture where hasty and errant conclusions are sometimes quickly formed, the mere inclusion of one’s name in a report such as this can wrongly and forever equate anyone named, no matter how innocuously, with those who committed the evilest acts,” the statement continued.

Quoting a court opinion that ordered the release of the names in the attorney general’s report, the statement said: “The fact that an individual’s name was redacted was a function of Maryland law regarding grand jury documents; it was in no way a finding by the court that any of these people engaged in any improper conduct.”  

The statement continued that the court also stated: “While the anger and pain of the victims and their families is entirely justified, an undifferentiated fury aimed at the Church and all of the people in the report is not. Some of the people in the report were simply making difficult decisions under difficult circumstances.” 

The archdiocese said it will continue to respect the legal process and the court’s decisions related to the report. Additionally, the statement said the archdiocese didn’t oppose the report’s release, citing its “longstanding policy” of releasing the names of its personnel who were credibly accused of child sex abuse. 

The archdiocese released its own list of priests and brothers accused of child sexual abuse in 2002.

The list was updated in 2019 to include priests or brothers who were accused after their deaths if more than one allegation had been brought to the archdiocese, if the allegation could be corroborated, or if the priest or brother was named publicly elsewhere.

The statement from the archdiocese said that no one with credible allegations of child sexual abuse is in ministry today, adding that Church policy “continues to forever bar from all ministry anyone who would harm a child.”

The court ruled in August that the identities of all but three of those named in the report be released to the public in September. But more than three names remain redacted because of the appeals.

Some names remain redacted because of appeals that were made to the court, the attorney general’s office said on Tuesday. A further unredacted version of the report may be released pending the outcome of the appeals, the office said. 

Statute of limitations to expire

More in US

The newly released report comes as Maryland’s statute of limitations ends on Oct. 1, following a bill that Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed in April allowing lawsuits to be filed at any point alleging misconduct.

The previous statute of limitations prevented lawsuits until victims reached the age of 38.

Several dioceses have declared bankruptcy following similar legislation enacted in the states they are located in. 

A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said it is prevented from commenting due to court order. 

The 463-page report from the attorney general’s office is not a criminal charging document but a statement of alleged facts for informational purposes.

Those whose names were originally redacted in the report had the chance to appeal the court’s order, which many did during two hearings in July, according to the memorandum opinion and order issued by the court Aug. 16.

“These names are being released because the key to understanding the report is understanding that this did not happen because of anything ‘the archdiocese’ did or did not do. It happened because of the choices made by specific individuals at specific times,” Judge Robert Taylor wrote in the court’s opinion.

(Story continues below)

“There is a strong public policy interest in bringing these choices and actions into public view. The interest is not in putting anyone in jail, at this point; the events at issue occurred so long ago that this does not seem plausible,” Taylor wrote.

“But there is an interest in exposing what happened, to help ensure that it does not happen again. There is an interest in exposing how it happened, so that the public in general and public policy makers in particular can decide what, if any, actions need to be taken to prevent similar occurrences in the archdiocese and other institutions accustomed to a culture of respect, deference, hierarchy, and the lack of accountability that is often a part of such institutions,” he wrote.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.