The Baltimore Banner [Baltimore MD]
May 12, 2023
By Liz Bowie, Tim Prudente, Jessica Calefati and Dylan Segelbaum
Even after more than four decades, the man says he clearly remembers “Brother Mike” inviting him into his tent at the Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation in Harford County and sexually assaulting him, then sending him out.
“Brother Mike,” he said, was a stocky man in his 20s who ran youth programs and Scouts at St. Ann’s Catholic Church on Greenmount Avenue and 22nd Street in Baltimore. The man was 15 years old then and lived around the corner from the church. He remembers “Brother Mike” had taken teenagers from St. Ann’s on the overnight Scouting trip in the 1970s.
“To this day, it still haunts me. I felt like I was not a man. I felt betrayed because he acted like I was his friend. I didn’t know it was wrong,” the man told The Baltimore Banner.
He shared those same troubling memories last year with investigators for the Maryland Attorney General’s Office. The office included his allegations in its sweeping 456-page report released last month detailing the history of child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Until Wednesday, the man didn’t know the full name of his alleged abuser. The attorney general’s report identifies the suspect only as “No. 156.”
Authorities redacted names from the report of some alleged abusers and church officials under an order from the courts. That’s frustrated survivors and their advocates, who have been working with reporters to identify the individuals.
The Banner used court and property records along with details from the survivor’s interview to identify the alleged abuser as Michael V. Scriber. Two additional people said they were either abused by or suspected Scriber of abuse, according to the report. The attorney general’s office declined to comment for this article.
In addition, The Banner used church directories that list priests’ job assignments to identify the Rev. Joseph G. Fiorentino as redacted priest No. 148 from the report. Fiorentino served for more than a decade at Our Lady of Pompei in Highlandtown in the 1960s and ’70s. His whereabouts today are unknown to the archdiocese and the attorney general’s office. The Banner was also unable to locate him.
The names of these two men are redacted in the report along with eight others accused of child sexual abuse. Also redacted are names of five church officials who handled allegations of abuse.
The Banner last week identified three priests whose names had been redacted. Those priests include the Revs. John Peter Krzyzanski, No. 151; Samuel Lupico, No. 152; and Joseph O’Meara, No. 155.
That brings to five the number of alleged abusers identified by The Banner. Five others in the report remain identified only as Nos. 147, 149, 150, 153 and 154.Sign Up for AlertsGet notified of need-to-know
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Public records show Scriber is in his late 60s and lives in Baltimore. A reporter visited his home Thursday and left a letter asking for comment. He was not home. Scriber could not be reached Thursday by phone and did not respond to a phone message.
In the interview with The Banner, the man said he was grateful to be told Scriber’s name. “Thank you. Thank you,” he kept saying. Tears had flowed down his face as he retold his story, he said, one he had kept buried inside for 44 years.After the abuse he left St. Ann’s and went to another church. He questioned his sexuality and wondered what a healthy relationship would look like, he said. He first found the courage to talk to David Lorenz, head of the Maryland Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, and then to the attorney general’s office last August.
An archdiocesan spokesperson cited the confidentiality order of the court in declining to comment on The Banner’s identification of Scriber and Fiorentino. Spokesperson Christian Kendzierski, however, said the archdiocese received allegations in 2003, 2021 and 2022 of past abuse by Scriber and reported all instances to local authorities. Those three years match years listed in the attorney general’s report for No.156. Kendzierski said an allegation of abuse by Fiorentino was also reported to law enforcement.
The Banner identified Scriber as No. 156 in part using property records that show him living in the 1970s at a residence for St. Ann’s priests. The man said “Brother Mike” lived in a church house next to St. Ann’s and would walk a Doberman Pinscher in the neighborhood for “Father Sam.” The Banner last week identified the Rev. Samuel Lupico as No. 152 in the report. Lupico is also listed in the 1970s at the same address for St. Ann’s priests.
Further, the man described the race of “Brother Mike” and remembered him as being in his 20s when he led the Scouting trips. These details match descriptions of Michael V. Scriber in unrelated public court records. There are no court records related to the alleged incident in the 1970s.
The Banner does not identify victims of sexual abuse without their consent.
According to the attorney general’s report, the survivor told the office that No. 156, who is now identified by The Banner as Scriber, “would routinely call boys to come to his tent and though they seemed upset after emerging, they did not speak about it with each other.” The report also said the survivor told investigators that when Scriber called him into his tent, he would touch the man’s genitals and “orally rape him.”
Scriber allegedly abused others at the Broad Creek camp in the 1970s, according to the report. In one case, a man who said he had been abused by Lupico reported in 2021 that on a camping trip to Broad Creek, Scriber made another boy sleep in his tent. In the morning the boy came out of Scriber’s tent and was crying so his mother came and picked him up from the trip early, according to the report.
In 2003, another man reported that Scriber made several boys take off their clothes at the camp in the 1970s, according to the report. Scriber spanked them and grabbed their penises, the report says.
Scriber and Lupico were not the only abusive church figures connected to Scouting. Eight other abusers mentioned in the report worked with the Boy Scouts, including Monsignor Thomas Bevan, who served as Broad Creek’s summer camp chaplain.
No. 156 had attended a seminary and intended to join the clergy, according to the report, but he dropped out for academic reasons. He lived in church housing for some years after he left the seminary.
The archdiocese has not listed Scriber as credibly accused on its website because he is not a clergy member, according to the report. The archdiocese maintains a list online of priests and religious brothers who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. That list does not include men who are not members of the clergy.
Allegations against Scriber appear on pages 449 and 450 of the grand jury report released last month that describes the history of child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The report includes 156 church figures accused of the “sexual abuse” and “physical torture” of more than 600 victims over the past 80 years.
Fiorentino’s name first surfaced in connection with abuse allegations in 2018 when the archdiocese gathered parishioners from Our Lady of Pompei to discuss accusations made against their longtime pastor, Luigi Esposito. Esposito served the Highlandtown church for more than 50 years and overlapped with Fiorentino for his first 12 on the job.
The archdiocese suspended Esposito after a woman said he abused her multiple times when she was a young teen starting around 1973. A second woman accused Esposito of abuse as well. Church officials found the allegations credible.
After the meeting, the archdiocese received calls from people speculating that some accusers of Esposito were mistaken and might actually have been abused by Fiorentino, who was considered “creepy” by young female parishioners, according to page 436 of the report, which identifies Fiorentino as No. 148. One woman told the archdiocese that Fiorentino pressed himself against her breasts and buttocks multiple times from 1973 to 1977 when she was in elementary and middle school, according to the report.
She called him “a toucher” and remembered him behaving that way with peers, including a family member. In an interview with state investigators, a child sexual abuse survivor recalled that Fiorentino often grabbed students’ butts, and when she confronted him around 1975, she was suspended and he was sent away.
An analysis of Official Catholic Directory records from the 1970s helped The Banner identify Fiorentino as No. 148.
Fiorentino was one of six priests who worked alongside Esposito between 1973 and 1977, when the alleged abuse by No. 148 occurred, according to the report. Only two of those priests separated from Our Lady of Pompei during that time period as we know No. 148 did. One of them, the Rev. John Turturro, died in 1975, the directory shows. Fiorentino is the other.
According to the report, No. 148 held his last known assignment in 1976. According to the directory, Fiorentino worked at Our Lady of Pompei in 1976. His name disappears from the church’s staff list, and from the directory entirely, in 1977.
At that point, his whereabouts became unknown to the archdiocese, according to the report.
Names of the 10 alleged abusers and five church officials were redacted from the report for procedural reasons. The investigation was conducted through a grand jury, which is confidential under state law.
The attorney general’s office said it redacted the names to head off any argument that the full report should not be released. Survivors, meanwhile, have called for all the names to be revealed.
Terry McKiernan, the founder of BishopAccountability.org, a Massachusetts nonprofit that collects documents related to clergy sexual abuse cases, identified “Official C” as W. Francis Malooly, the retired bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington. The Baltimore Sun last week identified four additional officials whose names are redacted from the report.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert Taylor Jr. has sealed the proceedings over the report, and arguments about the redactions are to continue behind closed doors. Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown has said the archdiocese may “legally release those names to the public at any moment.”
The archdiocese has taken a position that it’s bound by the court from releasing the names, which the attorney general’s office disputes.