Archdiocese Neglected to Report Abuse to Law Enforcement, Properly Investigate, or Restrict Accused Priests Access to Kids
(Baltimore, MD) – The Maryland Attorney General’s investigation into the Archdiocese of Baltimore has unveiled over 600 clergy sexual abuse victims over an 80-year period. The victims range in age from preschool into young adulthood. Over 158 priests accused of abuse are named in the report; 43 of them are not on the Archdiocese’s credibly accused list, and were not “identified publicly by the Archdiocese.” The report also revealed cover-up of abuse, and numerous instances in which church officials did not conduct formal investigations or inform law enforcement about abuse allegations. Additionally, there were multiple cases in which accused clergy were not removed from ministry and/or had unrestricted access to children.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese commented in response to the release of the report, saying “The Archdiocese continues to offer its profound apologies to all who were harmed by a minister of the Church and assure them of our heartfelt prayers for their continued healing.”
“Apologies are not enough. It is past due for the Archdiocese to take full accountability for their crimes,” said attorney Mike Finnegan. “Survivors deserve more. Survivors deserve true justice.”
It is possible the release of this report will lead to legislation changes and a push for new laws that give survivors of child sexual abuse legal options and hold guilty institutions accountable. For years, Maryland lawmaker, C.T. Wilson, has been a supporter and advocate for abolishing the civil statute of limitations in Maryland, but this legislation has not passed Maryland Senate. Terry McKiernan, president of Bishop Accountability, commented on the release of the report, saying “It becomes a lot harder to ignore these issues when you have a 500-page report on how bad things are on your desk,”.
“By completing this investigation, the Attorney General’s Office informed the public and exposed perpetrators and those who covered-up their crimes,” said attorney Mike Finnegan. “But, most importantly, their actions showed survivors that they matter. This report illustrates that what happened to so many survivors, often decades ago, is not forgotten.”