Baltimore City Catholic high school removing name of nun from auditorium after AG sex abuse report

WYPR - National Public Radio [Baltimore MD]

April 11, 2023

By Scott Maucione

The Catholic High School of Baltimore is one of the first schools in the area to take action regarding the Maryland Attorney General report released last week that implicated nearly 160 individuals with ties to the Archdiocese of Baltimore accused of sexually abusing children.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the school stated that it would be stripping Sister Marie Francis Yocum’s name from its auditorium.

“While the school continues to look into the matter, Catholic High’s auditorium will no longer be named after Sr. Francis Marie Yocum,” according to the social media post.

Yocum was a music teacher at the school in the 1950s and wrote the school’s anthem.

The Maryland Attorney General’s grand jury investigation report on the Archdiocese of Baltimore details Yocum as a nun who sexually abused a minor. The report included accusations against priests, deacons, brothers and nuns.

In 2012, a 75-year-old woman reported that Yocum sexually abused her in 1954, when she was about 16 or 17 years old, according to the report.

“The sexual abuse took place during the course of a year when the victim would go to her music lessons,” according to the report. “The abuse included kissing and fondling of the victim’s breasts and genitals.”

The report is making waves across the Baltimore Catholic Church community and outlines more than 600 child victims by priests and employees over 80 years.

“The incontrovertible history uncovered by this investigation is one of pervasive pernicious and persistent abuse by priests,” said Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown when the report was released. “It’s also a history of repeated cover up of that abuse by the Catholic Church hierarchy.”

The report describes religious clergy members such as priests but also nuns, brothers and deacons raping children, forcing them to play Russian Roulette and choking them with ropes.

In a letter addressing the report, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori calls the findings “soul searing.”

Lori apologized to the survivors, saying the Church continues to improve its accountability.

The Catholic School of Baltimore wrote that it is committed to the protection of children and the accountability of those credibly accused of abuse.