Md. Priest Suspended after Sex Allegation
Baltimore Case Passed On to Prosecutor
By Peter Whoriskey
June 10, 2002
The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced yesterday that the pastor of St. Dominic's Church has been suspended from serving as a priest "due to a credible allegation of child sexual abuse." Parishioners were informed of the removal of the Rev. George B. Loskarn during a special meeting yesterday afternoon.
Archdiocesan officials said the allegation against Loskarn came to the church's attention Thursday. The day the complaint was received, officials said, they confronted Loskarn about the allegation, which centered on his relationship about 30 years ago with a boy then in his early to mid-teens. Loskarn, 67, admitted the abuse and was immediately suspended, officials said.
On Friday, a letter reporting the allegation was hand-delivered to the Baltimore County state's attorney's office, church officials said.
There was no announcement of the actions until those attending Masses yesterday at the church on Harford Road were told about a meeting for adults regarding parish staff. Officials said about 50 people attended the 1 p.m. meeting and were informed of the allegation. Parishioners at other churches where Loskarn served will be informed next weekend.
The archdiocese last week set up a toll-free hotline that will handle calls from other possible victims.
"Anyone with information about misconduct by Father Loskarn is encouraged to inform civil authorities and the archdiocese," said Raymond P. Kempisty, a spokesman for the archdiocese. The number is 866-417-7469.
"We take these steps in every case," Kempisty said, adding that Loskarn's admission allowed officials to act decisively.
"We don't commonly have an admission the same day," Kempisty said. "Cardinal [William] Keeler has followed a zero-tolerance policy since 1998."
Since 1993, Maryland law has required that the state's attorney's office be notified of such cases, he said. But there are no clear-cut rules in the archdiocese on when to tell parishioners.
Loskarn's removal follows a month of controversy involving child abuse allegations in the Baltimore Archdiocese. The Rev. Maurice J. Blackwell, who was removed as a pastor in 1998 after admitting to archdiocesan officials that he had a sexual relationship with a minor dating to the 1970s, was shot May 13 on an East Baltimore street. Dontee D. Stokes, 26, who has said that Blackwell molested him for three years until 1993, has been charged with attempted murder in the shooting.
The secrecy surrounding allegations, investigations and litigation arising from priestly child sexual abuse has evolved into a scandal for the Roman Catholic Church this year.
Nearly 300 U.S. bishops are heading for Dallas this week to debate a mandatory policy on priests accused of such conduct.
Among issues that will be discussed are how much information should be shared with parishioners and whether priests may remain in the ministry if they have committed only one known act of abuse in the distant past, have undergone psychological treatment and have not been diagnosed as pedophiles.
Loskarn has served at St. Dominic's in Baltimore since 1985. From 1975 to 1985, he was at St. Thomas More in Baltimore; from 1972 to 1975, he was at St. Michael's in Baltimore County; and from 1965 to 1972, he was at St. Bernard's, which has closed. He was ordained in 1965.
The allegation that led to his suspension stemmed from his time at St. Bernard's.
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