City Priest Put on Leave
St. Dominic's Pastor Confirms Allegation of Sex Abuse, Church Says
Incident Was 3 Decades Ago
State's Attorney's Office in Baltimore County Notified of Accusation
By David Nitkin
June 10, 2002
A 67-year-old priest has been placed on leave from his Northeast Baltimore parish amid an allegation he sexually abused a teen-ager three decades ago, the Archdiocese of Baltimore announced yesterday.
The Rev. George B. Loskarn, pastor at St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church in the city's Hamilton section, confirmed the allegations made against him Thursday and was removed from his duties that day, said Raymond P. Kempisty, a spokesman for the archdiocese.
About 50 members of the congregation were notified at a 1 p.m. parish meeting yesterday.
Loskarn has been pastor of St. Dominic's since 1985 and served his entire career in Baltimore.
The alleged abuse took place outside Maryland and occurred when Loskarn was an associate pastor of St. Bernard Parish, Kempisty said. It was Loskarn's first assignment, which he held from 1965 to 1972. The church was closed in 1997.
Archdiocese officials would not disclose the identity of the alleged victim, whom they said in a statement "was in his early- to middle-teens when the alleged abuse took place." Kempisty said he did not know where the alleged abuse took place.
The alleged victim resides in Baltimore County. Archdiocese officials said they forwarded the complaint to the county state's attorney's office in a letter that was hand-delivered Friday, a day after church leaders received notification.
Baltimore County State's Attorney Sandra A. O'Connor said she was out of the office Friday and has not seen the complaint. A criminal case, she said, must be brought in the location where the alleged crime was committed.
"If the victim is interested in pursuing this, we would do everything in our power to forward it to the people who have jurisdiction," O'Connor said. In Maryland, felonies are not subject to a statute of limitations, but other states may have different rules, she said.
Loskarn oversaw a changing parish whose membership dropped from 5,000 families to an average 800 churchgoers each weekend, according an article in November in the Catholic Review.
"My homily to our people is that smaller is not bad," Loskarn was quoted as saying. "We're getting some new parishioners, some younger families, and we're getting some immigrant families."
Baltimore City Councilman Robert W. Curran, whose 3rd District includes Hamilton, said Loskarn presided over the 1999 funeral of his brother, Martin E. "Mike" Curran, also a longtime city councilman.
"If you said Father George somewhere in North Baltimore, they'd know who you were talking about," Curran said. "I know he was well-respected. ... My prayers will be with him and with the St. Dominic parish."
Loskarn becomes the first active parish priest in Baltimore to face sexual abuse charges in the crisis enveloping the Roman Catholic Church.
Last month, Cardinal William H. Keeler asked for the resignation of the Rev. William Q. Simms from an administrative job. Simms had been accused of molesting two teen-age altar boys 20 years ago.
Other accusations have been leveled against clergy who have left service or previously been removed, including the Rev. Maurice Blackwell, who was shot and wounded last month. Charged in the shooting was a man whose 1993 claim that he had been abused by Blackwell was not prosecuted.
Kempisty said that the church has received no previous complaint about Loskarn but that the archdiocese is sending letters to parishioners and parents of students at St. Dominic School and reaching out to other places where Loskarn worked.
He had been an associate pastor at St. Michael in Overlea from 1972 to 1975 and was pastor at St. Thomas More in Northeast Baltimore from 1975 to 1985.
Anyone with information on sexual abuse is encouraged to contact civil authorities or call the archdiocese toll-free at 866-417-7469.
Kempisty said parish staff was notified Friday, but full disclosure did not come until yesterday.
By the time the charge was made public, the church parking lot was empty and calls to the church office were forwarded to an answering service.
"We withheld public announcement to have the opportunity to let the parishioners know from us," Kempisty said. He said Loskarn was staying at an archdiocese rectory in Baltimore.
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