Clergy abuse survivors disappointed in court ruling preventing public release of archdiocese investigation

WMAR - ABC 2 [Baltimore MD]

December 6, 2022

By Mark Roper

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh sought to release results

A group of Maryland clergy abuse survivors is speaking out against a court decision to stop the results of a sexual abuse investigation from being made public. A Baltimore City Circuit Court judge made the decision on Friday to seal all proceedings, filings, and communications during grand jury proceedings.

SNAP (Survivors Network Of Those Abused By Priests) called the court’s decision a setback in transparency and justice for clergy abuse survivors in Maryland. SNAP isn’t giving up hope that the investigation will still be released at some point. However, the Archdiocese maintains that it does not and will not oppose the report’s release.

SNAP’s leader David Lorenz said the problem with not having access to the results of the investigation is that they don’t have insight into what objections are being made and therefore can’t form counter arguments.

Lorenz said sealing the proceedings prevents the public from finding out who is involved in arguing for or against the report in court.

Lorenz blamed the Archdiocese of Baltimore, citing a Baltimore Sun article that says the Baltimore Archdiocese is paying the attorney fees of an anonymous group who asked the judge to keep details and arguments in this case secret.

The article states the group is not accused of abuse but is made of people named in the report.

SNAP accused Baltimore Archbishop William Lori of not being truthful in supporting the report’s release.

Archbishop Lori responded to the accusations and said the Archdiocese does not and will not oppose the report’s release.

Lori stated the Archdiocese supports the rights of those mentioned in the report but not accused of abuse, and who were not given the ability to respond to the attorney general during the investigation.

Lori said those people deserve to be heard by the court, and that the Archdiocese will help pay their legal fees to ensure they are heard. Lori further elaborated by stating it doesn’t mean the Archdiocese is trying to stop the report from being made public.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh sought to release the results of a 463-page investigation into sexual abuse involving the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

A Baltimore circuit court judge denied the motion, stating no party is allowed to share any filing or communication, with any non-party to the proceedings, as well as that no copies of any documents are to be filed with the clerk’s office until further notice.