A four-year probe reveals shocking info about clergy sex crimes and cover-ups, but it hasn’t even been released yet. According to a new report, Baltimore Catholic Archdiocese covered up sexual abuse of over 600 victims. Over four decades, the report identified
- One parish was assigned 11 predator priests
- 115 priests who have been prosecuted for sexual abuse or identified by the Archdiocese as having been “credibly accused” of abuse, as well as 43 priests accused of sexual abuse but not identified by the Archdiocese—the church lists 152 priests who have been accused of child sexual abuse, including at least one who has been sentenced.
The sexual abuse was so pervasive, a court filing said, that “victims were sometimes reporting sexual abuse to priests who were perpetrators themselves.” This is what we know so far about the Maryland attorney general’s new report on clergy sex crimes and cover-ups in that state. And the report itself hasn’t even been publicly released yet. A judge is being asked to do just that. So to be more precise, these startling facts come from a formal court filing by the Maryland attorney general seeking to unseal the 463-page document. This step is necessary because some interviews and church records came through subpoenas.
We at Horowitz Law desperately hope that the judge opts for transparency over continued secrecy. That’s what, in our view, Maryland citizens deserve (especially but not exclusively parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors, and potential employers who might unwittingly hire a proven predator who does not appear on state or federal sex offender registries. So, to use a cliche, the three disturbing facts cited above are just the tip of the iceberg. An ugly, shocking, hurtful iceberg. Unlike a real iceberg, however, this one is not a natural phenomenon. It’s man-made. (Literally man-made, because the Catholic hierarchy is virtually all male.) https://www.bishop-accountability.org/2022/11/maryland-attorney-generals-investigation-of-child-sexual-abuse-in-catholic-archdiocese-of-baltimore-nears-completion/
Until we are all able to learn more about the pain caused by these corrupt, abusive, secretive, callous, and self-serving Catholic officials to the children of Maryland and their parents, here are a few other facts you should know about similar church abuse investigations from other attorney generals and local prosecutors across the US.
- Between 2002 to 2019, there have been 13 similar governmental investigations from Maine to Colorado. They are all worth reading to better understand how such terror was allowed to happen and how it spread, largely ‘under the radar,’ through a beloved institution.
- A must-read, we at Horowitz Law believe that this is the best probe yet. It focused more heavily on the tactics and strategies used by the church hierarchy to keep the abuse hidden than many reports do.
In future probes into crimes and cover-ups by church officials, whether in the US or elsewhere, here’s what we at Horowitz Law recommend:
- Prosecutors should hold open public hearings during their investigations. This would encourage more victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers to step forward and cooperate.
- Prosecutors should guarantee that the victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers will not be prosecuted for other, lesser crimes if they cooperate with investigations. (An adult who was sexually assaulted as a kid might think, “the priest showed me child porn” or “I drank booze with the choir director,” and fear that if they disclose their abuse, they might face legal complications.)
- Prosecutors should issue a public ‘heads up’ saying that the end of their investigation is near. This would give ‘fence sitters’ who are struggling to find the courage to come forward one final opportunity to do so before it’s too late.
- Prosecutors should use search warrants and subpoenas instead of relying on ‘voluntary disclosures’ by church officials. No matter how cooperative bishops and their lawyers may initially seem, we urge law enforcement officials to keep in mind that Catholic officials have ignored, enabled, and hidden horrific crimes against children for decades, if not centuries.
And virtually nothing in the church structure, and very little in the church culture, has changed much in the last two decades. So it’s silly, and one could argue even irresponsible, for secular authorities to assume the best about Catholic prelates, their lawyers, their public relations professionals, and their other employees when it comes to child sexual abuse.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures and other clergy. If you need a lawyer because a member of a religious organization sexually abused you, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected]. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help.