Lazy eyes listen
The Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore covered up decades of child sexual abuse by priests and other church leaders dating back to the 1940s, according to a damning report released by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office after a four-year investigation.
According to the report, which was released on Wednesday, over 600 children were sexually abused by over 150 clergy, nuns, seminarians, and deacons. The investigation alleged a “incontrovertible history” of “pervasive, pernicious, and persistent abuse,” which was allowed to continue because diocese officials preferred to protect the institution over the children in their congregations and schools.
“This report demonstrates the archdiocese’s depraved, systemic failure to protect the most vulnerable – the children it was charged with protecting,” Attorney General Anthony Brown said in a statement. According to the report, the “astonishing number of abusers and victims, the depravity of the abusers’ conduct, and the frequency with which known abusers were given the opportunity to continue preying upon children”
In fact, the abuse was allegedly so widespread that some churches and schools had multiple offenders on staff at the same time. Between 1964 and 2004, a parish in Catonsville, Maryland, had 11 separate abusers.
According to the state report, the archdiocese, the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States, did not protect victims when allegations of abuse surfaced. When the diocese learned in 1987 that a clergyman had sexually abused a 14-year-old girl and admitted to being “aroused by some young girls,” it told the victim that he would receive therapy and be reassigned away from children. The diocese did nothing else until more victims came forward in 1994. According to the report, nine other girls had been abused by that point, and there were indications of other victims who had chosen not to report their cases.
The investigation focused on abuse prior to 2002, when a shocking media report on the Archdiocese of Boston’s coverup of sexual abuse allegations led to church reforms, including lifetime bans for offenders. The attorney general’s office, on the other hand, claimed that the Archdiocese of Maryland failed to fully implement necessary reforms. For example, it failed to publicly identify all of the abusers it was aware of and allowed some to retire with pensions rather than being fired.
The report advocated for the repeal of Maryland’s statute of limitations on claims of childhood sexual abuse, allowing victims to sue for their losses in civil court. On Wednesday, state lawmakers approved legislation that would lift the current restriction that prevents alleged victims from suing after the age of 38.