Hundreds Of Children And Teenagers In Baltimore Were Ab*sed By The Catholic Clergy

Hundreds Of Children And Teenagers In Baltimore Were Absed By The Catholic Clergy

According to a thorough report from the Maryland attorney general released on Wednesday, clergy members in the Archdiocese of Baltimore abused hundreds of children and teenagers over the course of six decades, helped by a church hierarchy that routinely failed to look into and limit their access to children.

It was the most distressing chapter in the lengthy series of disturbing discoveries about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, this one taking place in the first diocese to be founded in the United States.

The 463-page report, the outcome of a four-year investigation by the attorney general’s office, details dismissals and cover-ups by the church leadership in addition to what is referred to as “pervasive and continuous abuse” by clergy members and others in the archdiocese.

Before the study was made public, victims’ organizations and certain present church authorities were aware of the amount of abuse that occurred inside the archdiocese. Journalists and advocacy organizations have written about specific situations, and some priests had been charged with crimes throughout the years.

Yet, the report’s authors said that it aims to be the most thorough and comprehensive analysis of the abuse to date. The study states that it aims to expose the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s massive breadth and scale of abuse and cover-up for the first time.

Maryland Passes Bill To Remove Statute Of Limitations On Abuse Cases

As a consequence of the abuse described in the study, state authorities have said that they do not anticipate filing any criminal charges.

The study was released just a few weeks after legislation removing the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases was passed by the Maryland Senate in an overwhelming vote. No matter how long ago the abuse occurred, the statute would let victims bring civil claims.

The identical measure has already been approved by the House, and Gov. Wes Moore has said he intends to sign it into law.

The state’s Catholic Conference, the church’s lobbying group, has opposed the legislation, calling it unjust and illegal.

Terence McKiernan, the head of the victims’ rights organization Bishop Accountability, demanded that Archbishop William E. Lori add the names of the 33 clergy members included in the research to the archdiocese’s current list of accused clergy members who have been publicly named as abusers.

The study is “a terrible contribution to our knowledge of clerical abuse of children in Baltimore,” Mr. McKiernan said in a statement.

The study cites 10 more abusers whose identities are suppressed because they may still be alive, have not been publicly recognized, or have not been credibly accused by the archdiocese, in addition to naming 146 abusers associated with the church, the majority of them were men who worked as priests.

The investigation details 156 church members who, beginning in the 1940s, assaulted more than 600 children. The identities of several hierarchy members who assisted in their protection are likewise redacted from the study.

The tweet below shows more than 600 children assaulted by the church:

David Lorenz, director of the Maryland chapter of SNAP, an organization that advocates for victims of clergy abuse, bemoaned some of the report’s redactions, particularly a sizable passage of text describing “senior members of the archdiocese” in charge of handling child abuse claims who neglected to look into, report, or deny offenders access to children.

Those whose names were censored would have a chance to register objections with the court, according to the attorney general’s office, and the court would then determine whether to disclose a version of the report with fewer redactions.

The scope of the conclusions in Wednesday’s report was alluded to in a court filing in November, but there were few specifics. The attorney general at the time, Brian Frosh, said in the document that “no parish was secure.” It asked the court to permit the dissemination of the whole report.

Anthony Brown, a new attorney general, assumed office in January. Mr. Brown said that the study “illustrates the vile, systematic failure of the archdiocese to safeguard the most vulnerable — the children it was tasked to keep safe” when he released it on Wednesday.

The tweet below by The New York Times confirms the news on their official Twitter account:

The investigation details a well-known pattern of abuse that spread across the church and targeted young victims who were weak or particularly loyal to the church, such as altar servers and choir members. Sometimes the abusers dismissed the victims’ experiences as “roughhousing,” claimed that the assault was “God’s will,” or threatened to send them and their families to hell if they reported the abuse.

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Baltimore Study Reveals Child Sexual Abuse In Catholic Church

The study lists certain parishes where there were many perpetrators. 11 child abusers passed through Catonsville’s St. Mark Parish between 1964 and 2004. One victim said that after accompanying him and another youngster to a hockey game, a priest by the name of Robert Lentz gave them both wine and fondled them.

Another victim said that Mr. Lentz, who passed away in 2007, was the reason he gave up being an altar boy so that he wouldn’t have to travel with him.

Since The Boston Globe exposed the widespread cover-up of abuse in church settings more than 20 years ago, the sexual abuse issue in the Catholic Church has developed during that time.

The Baltimore study is the most current of many recent investigations of sexual abuse in the church by state attorneys general and grand juries, most notably a thorough report on six Pennsylvania dioceses that horrified Catholics throughout the nation in 2018. Josh Shapiro, who is now the state’s governor and was the attorney general throughout that probe, headed it.

Being the first Catholic diocese in the United States, Baltimore has special significance within American Catholicism. It was founded in 1789. Up until 1808, the Baltimore diocese was the official home of the entire American Catholic Church.

There are now more over 150 parishes, missions, and schools within the archdiocese. Archbishop Lori, its current powerful leader, was chosen in November to serve as vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“I see the pain and destruction that was perpetrated by representatives of the church and perpetuated by the failures that allowed this evil to fester, and I am deeply sorry,” Archbishop Lori wrote in a response to the report, calling it “a heartbreaking and new reminder of a tragic and shameful time.”

The lengthy statement emphasized that a vast majority of documented abuse cases took place decades ago and that the archdiocese had made numerous reforms this century.

The archbishop underlined that “no one credibly accused of child abuse is in ministry in the archdiocese today” in a statement he sent on Monday in advance of the report’s publication.

Victims’ rights supporters praised the publication of the study.

“It’s a huge relief to have this out,” Mr. Lorenz of SNAP said. He described the report as the first time that an institution had validated the accounts of the victims he works with. “This institution, the attorney general’s office said, ‘We believe you, we’re writing it down, it’s on paper, it’s recorded as truth,’” Mr. Lorenz said. “It says someone believes us.”

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