Bishop, other high-ranking Baltimore Catholic officials identified as those who helped cover up sexual abuse

Baltimore Sun [Baltimore MD]

May 4, 2023

By Lee O. Sanderlin and Cassidy Jensen

In the fall of 2002, as the countryfirst realizedthe scope of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, a Baltimore bishop sat in a Carroll County parochial school gym to try and make sense of it all.

Auxiliary Bishop W. Francis Malooly told a group of faithful that it was a mystery to him why priests who the Archdiocese of Baltimore had recently named as credibly accused of abuse weren’t in jail, and why they had never been fully prosecuted. Priests elsewhere were being charged every day now, he said.

It was no mystery.

In many instances, Malooly — along with the Most Revs. Richard “Rick” Woy, G. Michael Schleupner, J. Bruce Jarboe and George B. Moeller — helped abusive priests get away with their crimes, either concealing the extent of a priest’s misdeeds or striking deals with prosecutors to avoid a criminal charge.

The five were among the most powerful, high-ranking and visible officials in the archdiocese. Its annual directories show some served as chancellor, effectively the right hand of the late Cardinal William Keeler or the late Archbishop William Borders. Others were director of clergy personnel, akin to a human resources manager. Other times, they were in charge of archdiocesan finances.

In total, their names appear 257 times in a new report by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office on clergy abuse within the archdiocese. But the public hasn’t known who they are because their identities were shielded. The church paid for lawyers to fight to black out their names and a judge directed the attorney general’s office to redact them before releasing the report last month.

The Baltimore Sun reviewed thousands of pages of court records, decades of archdiocese directories, and dozens of contemporary newspaper articles to piece together details that helped reveal the men’s identities. People with knowledge of their conduct at the time or who are familiar with the report confirmed The Sun’s reporting.

The attorney general’s office provided an unredacted version of the report to the archdiocese in November, and at least 15 people have seen it. Meanwhile, the ongoing legal battle by the attorney general’s office to release a version with fewer redactions is subject to a judge’s gag order. Future closed-door hearings on the issue are likely, but the public won’t be notified of them in advance.

The report names 156 people accused of abuse, many of them now dead. The names of 10 further abusers, all living, are also redacted and have not yet been identified. The Sun is identifying these five officials because, while not accused of abuse, they were church leaders who worked to keep the extent of the scandal hidden.

The archdiocese did not return calls and emails seeking comment. The five men identified either declined to be interviewed, did not answer the phone, did not respond to voice mails and text messages or did not come to the door when a reporter visited their home. The attorney general’s office also declined to comment.

After The Sun published an article in November confirming that the archdiocese was funding the legal fight to keep some names in the report secret, abuse survivors demanded that an unredacted version of the report be released. Some of them retained attorneys and joined the secret court proceedings on the withheld information.

In the only public document that addresses why people affiliated with the church have sought to keep names of those in the report secret, their attorneys argued the materials the attorney general’s office drew on in its investigation were archdiocese records obtained under a grand jury subpoena.As a result, they claimed, the names should remain secret and any proceedings about whether to disclose the information must be closed to the public. All other filings in the case are sealed.

“Let us see the ones who moved the predators,” Teresa Lancaster, an abuse survivor said at a news conference two days after the report was released. “That’s the blacked-out stuff — the church leaders moving them from parish to parish and letting them abuse more children.”

Five redacted names

Named in the report 122 times as “Official C,” Malooly later rose to be bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington in Delaware. Malooly is named in the report more than twice as many times as Woy, the second most-mentioned official whose name is redacted. Woy, currently pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Crofton, appears 56 times and is identified as “Official B.”

Schleupner is identified in the report 50 times as “Official E.” He currently celebrates Mass on the weekends at Our Lady of Grace in Parkton.

Moeller, the first ordained of the five, is the “Official D” who is cited 19 times. Jarboe, pastor at St. Ann in Hagerstown, is “Official A” and is referred to 10 times.

Malooly, Schleupner and Woy, ordained in that order, entered into the church during a time of scandal, according to the report. The men rose through the ranks in the 1980s and 1990s while the Catholic Church in the U.S. scrambled to prevent the public from learning the extent of the abuse by its ranks.

A Baltimore native, Malooly was ordained in 1970 by his uncle, the late Bishop T. Austin Murphy. His career reached its zenith in 2008 when he was installed as the Wilmington bishop, just as that diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of several sexual abuse lawsuits in Delaware. Malooly retired in 2021 and lives in Wilmington.

An article in The Daily Times of Salisbury compared him at the time to a “corporate executive” preparing a company, in this case the Baltimore Archdiocese, to run without him after he’d handled its “daily matters” for two decades. In The Sun’s exit interview with him in July 2008, he talked about handling abuse complaints.

“There’s nothing you can do to make up for the damage that was done,” he said. “You just try to reach out.”

During his tenure in Baltimore, Malooly was director of a youth retreat, then became clergy personnel director sometime in 1984 or 1985, according to church directories. Almost immediately, he entered the fray, helping to move Father William Simms in 1985 from St. Andrew by the Bay in Cape St. Claire to Western Maryland after receiving allegations Simms molested several children, according to the attorney general’s report. It said Malooly drafted a statement for Simms to tell parishioners he was taking “temporary sick leave because of stress.”

In 1992, during a deposition in another case, Malooly was asked about a deal archdiocesan officials made with Anne Arundel County authorities to get Simms immunity in exchange for a list of children he molested. Malooly did not answer that question under advice from the church’s attorney, court records show. Simms, who was granted immunity, died in 2005.

Schleupner, also a Baltimore native, became chancellor in 1980 after attending business school and completing internships at local companies.

A two-man team, Schleupner and Malooly investigated several reports of abuse in the mid-80s through the mid-90s, according to the report, court records from specific cases and newspaper articles.

One case they worked on, that of Father Thomas J. Bauernfeind, is described in the attorney general’s report as “illustrative of the role senior members of church leadership played in perpetrating and covering up abuse.”

Bauernfeind was one of the highest-ranking members of the archdiocese, having served his own three-year stint as chancellor. In 1987, a woman accused Bauernfeind of trying to rape her in his room 10 years earlier when she was 16, the report said. Bauernfeind, then a pastor at St. Lawrence in Woodlawn, told fellow priests that the girl’s accusation was true, according to the report.

A Feb. 24, 1987, memo from then-Chancellor Schleupner shows that the archdiocese’s lawyer and Malooly, the director of the clergy personnel division at that time, reached out to the office of the state’s attorney in Baltimore and described the accusation, but did not mention Bauernfeind’s name, according to the report. An assistant state’s attorney told Malooly that the conduct could warrant charges of assault, battery and maybe even attempted rape, according to Schleupner’s memo.

Instead of reporting him to authorities, the archdiocese sent Bauernfeind for four days of “psycho-theological evaluation” in Massachusetts, according to the attorney general’s report. A year later, Bauernfeind was sent to Our Lady Queen of Peace in Middle River. Malooly sent him a letter congratulating him on 25 years of service to the church.

The church did not formally report Bauernfeind’s crimes to authorities until 2002. He died the next year.

That was not the only time the pair failed to report the extent of a priest’s crimes. Father Robert Newman met with Schleupner and Malooly on Feb. 2, 1987, and acknowledged to abusing 12 boys on more than 100 occasions. Yet aBaltimore Police Department report from the time says authorities only knew about one instance of abuse, according to the report.

Newman and the other priests cited in this article did not return calls seeking interviews.

The lack of disclosure happened again in the case of Father Marion Helowicz, who pleaded guilty in 1988 to abusing an intellectually disabled boy. Schleupner and Malooly knew of at least one other victim, but did not tell the office of the Baltimore County State’s Attorney, which was prosecuting Helowicz, according to the report.

Giving ‘great deference’

Moeller is mentioned in the report as having worked with Malooly on some investigations, and on at least one occasion, helped secure short-term disability payments for Father Joseph Krach. Moeller had sent Krach to psychotherapy in 1990, writing in the referral that Krach had “questionable relationships with male teenagers and young adults” and “problems with altar boys.” In an interview with Moeller and Malooly, Krach acknowledged having been “very close” or “friendly” with young men at each parish he was assigned to.

Despite these issues, the archdiocese did not remove his faculties as a priest and he was allowed to assist at weekend Masses again beginning in 1992. Krach died in 2013.

From 1995 until 2002, Jarboe was the archdiocese’s associate director of clergy personnel, then the director. He told people who attended a 2002 town-hall type meeting held by the archdiocese that all credible reports of abuse were given to the civil authorities, as had been church policy since the mid-1980s.

“Our first responsibility is to protect those who are vulnerable,” Jarboe said, according to a Sun article.

But the archdiocese waited until 2000, seven years after officials learned about a woman who said Father Kenneth Farabaugh raped her when she was 15, to tell the Harford County Sheriff’s Office about it, the report said. A lieutenant in the sheriff’s office kept Jarboe updated on the investigation, but it came to an end when Farabaugh’s car hit a tree, killing him, minutes before a scheduled polygraph test.

Also in 2000, Jarboe counseled Father David G. Smith, who had bought a restaurant and may have had an inappropriate relationship with his business partner when that person was a student at Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School in Baltimore, where Smith had taught, according to the report. Smith told Jarboe he wanted a leave of absence in order to receive psychological treatment, and Jarboe suggested he consider a facility that would not “mark him unfairly” in the future. At least one of Smith’s victims has received a settlement, according to the report.

Smith pleaded guilty in 2002 to a charge of “perverted practice” in Baltimore County. A judge gave him probation and the archdiocese pays him a pension and health insurance benefits, according to the report.

More recent examples show the lengths church leaders such as Woy, who also served as vicar general, went to protect priests.

When a man came forward in 2005 and reported that Monsignor Thomas Bevan took altar boys to his cabin, gave them alcohol and watched them streak in the 1970s, Woy defended Bevan before the Archdiocesan Independent Review Board, where Woy described Bevan as “forthright.” Woy also said that when he visited the cabin, he did not see alcohol abuse or children, according to the report.

The report describes the archdiocese as giving “great deference” to Bevan and the priests who vouched for him. Bevan acted as a priest until 2009, when another victim reported abuse. More victims reported sexual abuse by Bevan, and he was charged in 2010 in Frederick County. He entered an Alford plea — a guilty plea in which he maintained his innocence, but acknowledged there was sufficient evidence to convict him — to one count of child abuse. A judge ordered him to serve 18 months on home detention and register as a sex offender.

Bevan was removed from the registry in 2014; it’s not clear why.

Now a pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Woy rose high in the church, at one point being named vicar general under former Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O’Brien. Woy also served as chancellor, director of the office of child and youth protection, and director of clergy personnel.

Woy handled complaints about Father A. Joseph Maskell in the ‘90s. The report describes a 1992 note Woy shared with a nun about Maskell’s psychological testing, showing his involvement in the archdiocese’s investigation. Also, Jean Wehner, one of Maskell’s victims, provided to The Sun a 1993 letter from Woy in which he wrote the church was halting payment for her therapy because it couldn’t corroborate her allegations. The many crimes of Maskell, among others, were the subject of a 2017 Netflix documentary series titled “The Keepers.” Maskell died in 2001.

Fearing negative publicity after the series’ debut, members of the board of St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson attempted to oust Woy in 2017 from the board, but current Archbishop William E. Lori intervened and Woy remains on the board.

Lori, in a letter at the time to the board’s chairman, said Woy had his “unqualified support” and was “known for his tough stance on child abuse and has always put the pursuit of truth and the welfare of children above all other aims.”

Baltimore Sun reporters Hayes Gardner, Abigail Gruskin, Alex Mann and Lia Russell contributed to this article.