Answers Sought About Nun Named In Sex Abuse Investigation
August 27, 2018
New developments in WJZ’s investigation into systemic abuse at some of Baltimore’s catholic schools in the sixties and seventies.
Previously, WJZ’s investigation revealed that one nun must have known about the abuse — now the fallout from the investigation.
It’s a dark chapter for Baltimore’s catholic schools.
Father Joseph Maskell, a counselor at Seton Keough High School, is accused of molesting dozens of students.
WJZ’s investigation also revealed abuse at the hands of at least one other priest, police and a teacher at catholic community middle school, John Merzbacher.
Linda was one of Merzbacher’s victims: “I was in the 8th grade. Merzbacher kept me after school. He locked the door, he tripped me to the floor. He straddles me. He unbuttoned my shirt blouse. I was petrified and then I heard the click of the door being unlocked. In walked sister Eileen Wiseman and stood over both of us. Her comment to him was, ‘Oh John, I told you never to lock the door’. and she looked at me and said, ‘You are never to stay after school again’. (and she was a nun?) I thought this woman was going to save me when she came in the door and she did absolutely nothing.”
The person Linda is talking about — Sister Eileen Wiseman — was the principal of the school and many tell WJZ she knew about the abuse.
After WJZ’s investigation revealed that she was currently living in a convent on a school campus, students and others demanded to know why.
While Sister Eileen has denied any knowledge of the abuse, Gary Homberg – who taught at Catholic Community Middle when Weisman was principal — insists she knew.
A statement signed by then Archbishop William Lori publicly acknowledged Weisman’s actions regarding Merzbacher’s abuse of students led to her forced retirement. The church said Sister Eileen should never again be responsible for the safety of children.
“Every teacher in that school knew what was going on including Sister Eileen,” Homberg said. “There was no doubt.”
For decades Homberg would not speak with the media. He finally broke his silence to WJZ.
“I went to Sister Eileen and sat down and told her what I had seen and what I had heard, ah, what I had witnessed with my own two eyes. It was as gross as vile, as ugly as anything you can imagine,” he told WJZ.
WJZ’s report triggered protesters to gather outside the home for retired nuns where she lived.
“All we want is the truth to be out and we want justice to be served,” a protester told WJZ then.
Immediately following our investigation, Notre Dame Prep students posted copies of WJZ’s story on the bathroom walls demanding answers.
The school held an assembly which sources tell WJZ ended abruptly when students asked whether Sister Eileen was living on the grounds of their school.
WJZ has obtained an email the school’s headmistress later sent to students saying “the sister referenced in the article does not live in the ssnd convent”…and “at the assembly I was asked by a student if the sister ever lived on campus. I was unable to answer her question at the time, but can now say that the sister did once live in the ssnd convent.”
Sources tell WJZ that after our report aired Sister Eileen moved to another local convent, not on the grounds of a school.
But the church still maintains that “we have found no evidence to suggest that our religious community or any of our sisters had knowledge of Mr. Merzbacher’s conduct at the time the abuse occurred.”
“They would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to be aware of what was going on,” Homberg said. “There is no doubt in my mind they knew and looked the other way.”
Merzbacher is currently serving 4 life terms for child rape. To this day, he is the only one to be charged in the rampant sex abuse that took place during this time.