A four-year-long investigation conducted by Maryland authorities into the Archdiocese of Baltimore has found that over 150 Catholic “clergy members, seminarians, deacons, teachers 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, multiple news outlets reported.
The probe was launched in 2019 by former Maryland Attorney General Brian Fros, who announced its completion in November, saying investigators had reviewed over 100,000 pages of documents dating back to the 1940s and interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses, according to NPR.
The report, released by Attorney General Anthony Brown, says the number of children abused “is likely higher” than 600, noted CNN.
“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. 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 says.
“Additionally, the Office of the Attorney General created an email address and telephone hotline for persons to report information about clergy abuse. Over three hundred people contacted the office, and Office of the Attorney General investigators reached out and interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses. Many of those who came forward had told their story before; some came forward for the first time,” the report states.
According to NPR, “Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Robert Taylor ruled last month that a redacted version should be made public,” writing in his decision, “the need for disclosure outweighs the need for secrecy.”
He added, “‘public reckoning’ may be the only form of justice available to some victims,” according to NPR, as the report notes, “The accusations described in this Report do not constitute findings of guilt.”
Baltimore Archbishop William Lori released a statement Earlier this week, saying, “The report is likely to evoke many emotions: anger, disgust, disillusionment and sadness among them. Though the Archdiocese has made great strides over the last three decades to rid the Church of the scourge of abuse and to set the standard for how institutions should respond to allegations of child sexual abuse, the report covers a period in the Archdiocese’s past when our response to such allegations was woefully inadequate.”