AG seeks to release report into child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore

WBAL-TV, NBC-11 [Baltimore MD]

November 17, 2022

By Greg Ng

Motion states investigation identified more than 600 victims

Maryland’s attorney general on Thursday filed a motion to release an investigative report of child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Attorney General Brian Frosh released a statement Thursday afternoon, saying his office is seeking approval from the Baltimore City Circuit Court to release the 463-page report to the public.

“It shows many, many instances of child sexual abuse from priests and other employees of the Archdiocese of Baltimore — hundreds of victims — and it involves more than 100 priests, 150-some priests and other employees who were people who were accused of abuse by the victims,” Frosh told 11 News. “We want to make sure abusers know they can’t do it and get away with it.”

The release must be approved by the court because the documents were handed over in response to grand jury subpoenas.

“For decades, survivors reported sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests, and for decades the church covered up the abuse rather than holding the abusers accountable and protecting its congregations. The Archdiocese of Baltimore was no exception,” the motion states.

PDFRead the motion

In the motion, the attorney general states the investigation identified more than 600 victims and said “there are almost certainly hundreds more, as the Department of Justice’s Annual Crime Victimization Report has demonstrated that most incidents of sexual assault go unreported.”

The investigation found the archdiocese went through great lengths to keep abuse secret. The motion states the archdiocese failed to take action or report sexual abuse, conduct adequate investigations and remove abusers from the ministry.

“The archdiocese for many, many decades did everything they possibly could to keep the information about the abuse out of the public eye, away from the press, out of the court,” Frosh told 11 News.

The motion seeks to disclose information about priests or church officials who were:

  • Prosecuted for sexual misconduct
  • Publicly identified by the archdiocese as having been “credibly accused” of sexual misconduct
  • Not publicly identified by the archdiocese as having been “credibly accused” of sexual misconduct
  • Not publicly identified by the archdiocese as having been “credibly accused” and are still living

The report identifies 115 priests who were prosecuted and 43 priests who were accused but not identified publicly by the archdiocese.

Both boys and girls were abused from preschool through young adulthood, the report finds. And, some congregations and schools were assigned multiple abusive priests.

“In some cases, the same people just continued to abuse, and in other cases, new people came in and commenced abuse,” Frosh told 11 News.

In 2019, Frosh launched a criminal investigation of child sexual abuse perpetrated by priests and other employees of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Frosh said his office received hundreds of thousands of documents dating back to the 1940s in response to grand jury subpoenas.

“I would like to take a minute, if I could, to apologize to the victims, whom I promised we would deliver this information, and it’s taken longer than I anticipated. Part of that is because we didn’t get all the material that we needed until earlier this year,” Frosh told 11 News. “It’s very important to release this information. It goes back many decades. I think survivors, victims of the abuse feel like their voices are not being heard. I want them to know that our office heard them.”

The attorney general’s office sought information about child sexual abuse from the public, which could be submitted via email or by phone at 410-576-6312. The office received emails and phone calls from 300 people, which resulted in investigators interviewing hundreds of victims and witnesses that included former priests and church officials.

Frosh said many of the cases cannot be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has run out, or the abuser has died.

“We think a report to the public about what went on is important, not just for the satisfaction of the victims, but also to protect against future abuse,” Frosh told 11 News. “The laws have changed over the course of the last 40 years, and we think they are much more protective of children.”

“Our hope is that the Catholic Church will agree to the release of the report. They’ll have to make a decision over the course of the next week or two if they’re going to oppose the release,” Frosh told 11 News.