In latest fallout from Catholic Church sex abuse report, Maryland State Boychoir director resigns after he is identified

Baltimore Sun [Baltimore MD]

May 28, 2023

By Jean Marbella and Lee O. Sanderlin

The director of the Maryland State Boychoir has resigned after he was identified as one of the 156 Catholic Church staff named in a Maryland Attorney General’s Office report on child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

The Baltimore Sun on Friday named Frank T. Cimino Jr. as one of 10 alleged abusers whose names were redacted in a public version of the report issued April 5.

Cimino, 75, founded the boychoir 36 years ago and served as its president and director emeritus. Now numbering about 130 members, it performs widely in the state, nationally and abroad.

“This painful set of circumstances was completely unexpected, and to our knowledge, there have never been any previous complaints about Mr. Cimino’s conduct,” the choir’s board of directors wrote in an email Saturday to its community. “The entire Board understands how surprising and concerning this must be as the allegations made against Mr. Cimino occurred long before the Maryland State Boychoir was established. The Board shares your sentiments.”

The choir’s board appointed its artistic director, Stephen Holmes, to take over for Cimino as acting president, the email said.

The Sun reported Cimino was fired in 1987 from his job as minister of music at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Northeast Baltimore after a man reported that he had been sexually abused by him as a choirboy in the 1970s. Archdiocese officials confronted Cimino with the allegations, and he denied them, according to the attorney general’s report. The report said the man reported the sexual abuse again in 2020.

Cimino started the boychoir the same year he was fired from St. Thomas More.

The news of his inclusion in the report prompted the choir’s board to convene “to discuss the matter and organizational leadership,” and Cimino resigned effective immediately, according to the email.

“The Maryland State Boychoir will continue to monitor and evaluate this situation and pledges to update you as appropriate,” the email said. “Lastly, there is nothing more important than the emotional and physical safety of our choristers, and everyone in our community. We remain committed to our future and advancing our very important mission.”

Cimino began the choir with just 14 boys who would practice in his mother’s basement. It grew from there, recording several CDs and performing everywhere from the White House to the Vatican.

The late Gov. William Donald Schaefer named the group an official goodwill ambassador of the state, and it performed at his funeral.

The choir eventually was housed in St. Matthew United Church of Christ in the Northeast Baltimore neighborhood of Mayfield, where Cimino serves as organist and music minister. The choir bought the church building in 2006.

With the revelation of Cimino as No. 147 on the attorney general’s “List of Abusers” in its report, all but one remains unidentified, a nun who served for two years in the 1940s.

The 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 during the past month.

On Thursday, The Sun identified the Rev. Thomas Hudson, an Episcopal minister, as No. 150 in the report. He had been a public schoolteacher in Frederick in the mid-70s and was active at St. John Catholic Church there. The report said he gave a 15-year-old boy alcohol on a camping trip and tried to take the youth’s pants off.

Hudson has taken a leave of absence from his church, St. George in Allegany County.

The Sun has also revealed the names of five high-ranking Catholic archdiocese officials, referred in the report as Officials A through E, who, according to the attorney general’s findings,helped cover up the abuse.

Among them is Msgr. Richard “Rick” Woy, Official B, currently pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Crofton. The day after The Sun article named him, he resigned from the board of directors of the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. A previous effort to oust him from the Towson hospital’s board after he was featured in the 2017 Netflix documentary, “The Keepers,” had failed.

Another of the officials The Sun named, Msgr. J. Bruce Jarboe, Official A in the report, was slated to become pastor of a prominent parish, the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Towson. But Archbishop William Lori canceled the transfer the week after The Sun identified Jarboe. He remains pastor of St. Ann in Hagerstown.