Archdiocese Lists 6 Accused of Child Abuse;
Suspended and Former Priests Were Trained at Baltimore Seminary

By John Rivera
Baltimore Sun
August 21, 2002

The Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore released the names yesterday of six suspended and former priests who allegedly abused minors while they were students at a Baltimore seminary and later went on to molest additional youths while serving in other cities.

The allegations against five of the men date from the 1970s, and a sixth is accused of abuse in the 1980s, while all were students at St. Mary's Seminary & University in Roland Park.

Although the men attended seminary in Baltimore, all were ordained for other dioceses.

None of the men is now in ministry, having been suspended or defrocked for allegations that came to light after they were ordained as priests.

The inactive priests served in the dioceses of La Crosse, Wis., Trenton, N.J., Albany, N.Y., Providence, R.I., and Portland, Maine.

Archdiocesan officials said they were releasing the names to encourage any additional victims to come forward.

"We want to let victims know we believe them. We hope they come forward so we can apologize and offer help," said spokesman Stephen Kearney.

Monsignor Richard Woy, the chancellor and the director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection, said the system of seminary internships was much more informal three decades ago, when the abuses are alleged to have occurred.

A seminarian would often make his own arrangements for a summer internship in a parish or other ministry and there is often no record of it.

"We were concerned with this particular group in that they may have served in locations that are unknown to us," Woy said.

The Rev. Robert F. Leavitt, president and rector of St. Mary's Seminary & University, said the school had "no knowledge of any incidents involving its students prior to recent disclosure.

"A review of these cases disclosed no indications or allegations of sexual abuse in seminary records," he said.

The men are: Bruce E. Ball, who was ordained for the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., which informed the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 1993 of two claims of sexual abuse against the former priest while he was a seminarian in Baltimore in the mid-1970s.

Ball was convicted in 1992 in Wisconsin of child sexual abuse and was later defrocked.

While a seminarian at St. Mary's in the mid-1970s, Ball worked at Villa Maria School in Timonium and at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart School in Mount Washington.

The Rev. John Banko, a St. Mary's seminarian from 1964 to 1972, who was ordained for the Diocese of Trenton.

As a student, he worked at St. Joseph parish in Cockeysville. This year, someone came forward and alleged sexual abuse by Banko in the early 1970s while he was at St. Mary's.

He is awaiting trial on charges that he sexually abused a child in New Jersey.

The Rev. Mark Haight, who was ordained in 1976 for the Diocese of Albany, N.Y.

While studying at St. Mary's from 1972 to 1974, he worked at Spring Grove Hospital and at St. Ambrose Church in Park Heights.

This year, an individual alleged sexual abuse by Haight in Baltimore in the mid-1970s.

Haight was removed from ministry in 1996 after allegations surfaced in Albany.

The Rev. Michael LaMountain, who was ordained for the diocese of Providence, R.I., and assisted at Most Precious Blood parish in Northeast Baltimore from 1974 to 1976.

Last year, an individual alleged sexual abuse by LaMountain in Baltimore in the mid-1970s. LaMountain pleaded guilty in 1999 to nine counts of child sex offenses between 1979 and 1992.

The Rev. Francis McGrath, who attended St. Mary's in the mid-1970s and who was ordained for the Diocese of Trenton.

An individual came forward in 1995, alleging that McGrath abused him in Baltimore in the early 1970s.

This year, another individual came forward alleging abuse by McGrath in Baltimore in the mid-1970s.

While he was a seminarian, McGrath assisted with classes at the Gilman School and served at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Locust Point, Calvert Hall College High School and at St. Anthony of Padua in Northeast Baltimore. McGrath left the priesthood in 1995.

The Rev. Raymond Melville, who left the priesthood in 1997 and was a student at St. Mary's from 1979 to 1985.

He was ordained for the Diocese of Portland, Maine. In 1990, a man wrote to the bishop of Portland alleging that Melville molested him during a five-year period while the seminarian was working at Our Lady of Good Counsel parish in Locust Point.

Melville was confronted with the allegation and sent to a treatment center, but was then reassigned to active ministry, according to a Portland Press Herald article.

Melville also worked at the University of Maryland Hospital.


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