Judge seals proceedings surrounding release of clergy sex abuse report

WBFF - Fox 45 [Baltimore MD]

December 22, 2022

By Sinéad Hawkins

A Baltimore Judge ordered proceedings sealed concerning the release of a report about Catholic clergy sexual abuse report within the archdiocese.

Circuit Judge Anthony Vittoria has now denied two appeals from sexual abuse survivors who fought to have the proceedings open to the public, said document.

This denial of the appeals comes after many abuse victims and critics of the church fought for weeks in Baltimore for the investigation into the history of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church of Baltimore’s information to be made public.

“It is time for Catholics everywhere to stand up and demand accountability from their leaders,” said Jean Hardagon Wehner at a November news conference.

The investigation found more than 600 victims and also states over 150 priests were credibly accused of abuse, including 43 that have not been identified by the archdiocese.

In November, the Archdiocese of Baltimore said that it would not oppose the release of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s report which investigated decades of sexual abuse.

“We are different—different than we were in the past—yet we must be transparent in acknowledging our past,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “To that end, the Archdiocese of Baltimore will not oppose the public release of the Attorney General’s report.”

Earlier in December, Judge Vittoria ordered that “all proceedings, filings, and communications regarding this matter are to be confidential;” and that “future filings are to be delivered to the judges chambers” instead of the circuit court clerk’s office.

Judge Vittoria cited state and federal rules that protect grand jury materials to keep information from the 456-page investigation to remain closed to the public.