A shocking report released last week by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office has exposed a massive, decades-long sex abuse scandal and coverup involving the Archdiocese of Baltimore, detailing the abuse of over 600 children at the hands of more than 150 Catholic priests and other clergy. According to the state report, which is the culmination of a yearslong investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse dating back to the 1940s, the abuse that occurred at parishes, schools, and congregations affiliated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore spanned 80 years and was covered up by church leaders, who took measures to protect the accused instead of the victims. If you or someone you love was sexually abused as a minor, there are laws in place now that may allow you to pursue a civil lawsuit against your abuser. Contact us today to find out how we can help you seek justice.
Disturbing Pattern of Child Sex Abuse by Catholic Priests
The Maryland child sex abuse report describes a disturbing pattern of abuse perpetrated by trusted clergy members across the Archdiocese of Baltimore, including one deacon who admitted to abusing more than 100 children. “The staggering pervasiveness of the abuse itself underscores the culpability of the Church hierarchy,” the nearly 500-page document says. “The sheer 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 are astonishing.” The report contains revelations of widespread abuse occurring within congregations, schools, and parishes affiliated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore. One such parish, St. Mark’s in Catonsville, reportedly housed and employed 11 known abusers between 1964 and 2004. In total, the report identifies 158 priests accused of abusing more than 600 children over 80 years, and the Maryland AG’s Office says the actual number of abuse victims is likely far higher.
This latest report adds to growing evidence of the “pervasive, pernicious and persistent abuse” of children nationwide perpetrated by Catholic priests and covered up by church leaders. The Baltimore report says that the Archdiocese went to great lengths to conceal reports of abuse and protect accused clergy, sometimes allowing them to remain in the ministry or retire with financial support, and failing to report alleged abuse to the authorities. Even when law enforcement officials were notified about allegations of abuse, the report states that they were often “uninterested in probing what church leaders knew and when.” In a statement posted online in the wake of the shocking report, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori apologized to the victims of the abuse and stated that the report “details a reprehensible time in the history of this Archdiocese, a time that will not be covered up, ignored or forgotten.”
Allegations of Child Sex Abuse at Baltimore Archdiocese Span Decades
The Maryland AG’s Office conducted this stunning investigative report in response to allegations of sex abuse involving the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the country. State investigators began looking into the allegations in 2019, reviewing more than 100,000 pages of documents and interviewing hundreds of victims and witnesses over the course of several years. The report was completed last year, and just last month, a Baltimore Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of releasing a redacted version of the report. In his ruling, the judge stated that making the report public is in the interest of justice, due in large part to the fact that many of the accused clergy have avoided being charged or otherwise held accountable for their conduct.
Pursuing Civil Lawsuits for Church Sex Abuse in Maryland
It is not uncommon for victims of child sexual abuse to repress their trauma and block out the memory of their abuse, only to have the painful memories resurface as adults, at which point it is often too late to pursue a civil lawsuit against the alleged abuser or institution. Current law in Maryland dictates that people who were sexually abused as minors are not permitted to file a civil lawsuit once they reach 38 years of age. However, less than a week after the Maryland AG’s Office released its findings, Governor Wes Moore signed into law a bill to terminate the state’s statute of limitations on child sexual abuse lawsuits filed against institutions. At least 24 states have recently introduced “lookback windows,” establishing limited time frames during which victims of child sexual abuse can file suit, regardless of when the alleged abuse occurred. Under Maryland’s new law, the removal of the statute of limitations is permanent, which means there is no longer any limit on when child sex abuse lawsuits can be filed against alleged abusers or institutions.
Call Us Today to Learn How We Can Help
“There is no statute of limitations on the hurt that endures for decades after someone is assaulted,” Governor Moore said at the signing of the new child sex abuse lawsuit bill. “There is no statute of limitations on the trauma that harms so many still to this day, and this law reflects that exact truth.” If you were sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest or any other member of the clergy, do not hesitate to speak to an experienced child sex abuse attorney. You may be able to recover financial compensation for the harm you have suffered, which you can pursue by filing a sex abuse lawsuit against the Catholic church. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.