More than 150 Catholic priests and others associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore sexually abused over 600 children and often escaped accountability, according to a long-awaited state report released Wednesday that revealed the scope of abuse spanning 80 years and accused church leaders of decades of coverups.
The report paints a damning picture of the archdiocese, which is the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the country and spans much of Maryland. Some parishes, schools and congregations had more than one abuser at the same time — including St. Mark Parish in Catonsville, which had 11 abusers living and working there between 1964 and 2004. One deacon admitted to molesting over 100 children. Another priest was allowed to feign hepatitis treatment and make other excuses to avoid facing abuse allegations.
Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown, who took office in January, said the investigation shows “pervasive, pernicious and persistent abuse.” State investigators began their work in 2019; they reviewed over 100,000 pages of documents dating back to the 1940s and interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses.
“State lawmakers are currently considering whether to end the state’s statute of limitations for when civil lawsuits related to child sexual abuse can be filed against institutions. Similar proposals have failed in recent years, but the issue received renewed attention this session and the current proposal is nearing passage in Annapolis, where lawmakers have until midnight next Monday to give final approval and send the bill to Gov. Wes Moore, who has said he supports it. Currently, victims of child sex abuse in Maryland can’t sue after they turn 38. The bill would eliminate the age limit and allow for retroactive lawsuits.”