Maryland AG report alleges more than 600 children abused by Catholic clergy members, others

Apr 5, 2023, 1:44 PM

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown speaks during a news conference on April 5, 2023. (WBAL via...

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown speaks during a news conference on April 5, 2023. (WBAL via CNN)

(WBAL via CNN)

(CNN) — A report from Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown released Wednesday alleges 156 Catholic clergy members and others abused at least 600 children over the course of more than six decades.

“From the 1940s through 2002, over a hundred priests and other Archdiocese personnel engaged in horrific and repeated abuse of the most vulnerable children in their communities while Archdiocese leadership looked the other way,” the report reads. “Time and again, members of the Church’s hierarchy resolutely refused to acknowledge allegations of child sexual abuse for as long as possible.”

The report’s list of abusers includes clergy members, seminarians, deacons, teachers and other employees of the Archdiocese.

The investigation began in 2018 and has since received “hundreds of thousands of documents,” including treatment reports, personnel records, transfer reports and policies and procedures.

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office said more than 300 people contacted the office after it opened an email address and telephone hotline for people to report information about clergy abuse, and investigators interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses.

“Today certainly in Maryland is a day of reckoning and a day of accounting,” Brown said during a news conference Wednesday.

Brown said he met with survivors and advocates Wednesday morning to hear their stories.

“While each of those stories is unique, together, they reveal themes and behaviors typical of adults who abuse children, and those who enable that abuse by concealing it,” Brown said. “What was consistent throughout the stories was the absolute authority and power these abusive priests and the church leadership held over survivors, their families and their communities.”

Most of the abusers listed in the report are dead and no longer subject to prosecution, the attorney general said.

“While it may be too late for the survivors to see criminal justice served, we hope that exposing the Archdiocese’s transgressions to the fullest extent possible will bring some measure of accountability and perhaps encourage others to come forward,” Brown said.

The Archbishop of Baltimore apologized on behalf of the Archdiocese after allegations of abuse surfaced in the report.

“To all survivors, I offer my most earnest apology on behalf of the Archdiocese and pledge my continued solidarity and support for your healing. We hear you. We believe you and your courageous voices have made a difference,” Archbishop William E. Lori wrote in a statement Wednesday.

“The report details a reprehensible time in the history of this Archdiocese,” Lori added, and wrote it “will not be covered up, ignored or forgotten.”

The Archdiocese began making “radical changes” in the 1990s to “end this scourge,” Lori wrote. Instances of abuse have fallen every year and every decade since cases of abuse peaked during the 1960s and 1970s, he wrote, saying, “The Archdiocese is not the same organization it was.”

“Make no mistake, however: today’s strong record of protection and transparency does not excuse past failings that have led to the lasting spiritual, psychological and emotional harm victim-survivors have endured,” the Archbishop’s statement reads.

The report contains “a full accounting” of abuse in the Archdiocese and “details of repeated tortuous, terrorizing, depraved abuse.” It lists and details 156 abusers “determined to have been the subject of credible allegations of abuse.”

More than 600 children are known to have been abused by those 156 people, the report reads, but “the number is likely far higher.”

The report does not constitute criminal indictment, according to the attorney general.

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Maryland AG report alleges more than 600 children abused by Catholic clergy members, others