Fr. Frederick Duke
Archdiocese of Baltimore
- 1942-1961: Shrine of the Little Flower (Baltimore, MD)
- 1961-1967: St. Mary’s (Lonaconing, MD)
- 1967-1971: St. John the Evangelist (Frederick, MD)
- 1971-1978: St. Mark Parish (Catonsville, MD)
- 1978-1979: St. Bernard Parish (Baltimore, MD)
- 1979-1987: Our Lady of Sorrows (Owensville, MD)
Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father Frederick Duke
Fr. Frederick Duke was ordained a Catholic priest in 1942 and worked in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. In 2002, Fr. Duke was listed on the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors list. In April 2023, Maryland’s Attorney General released a report alleging 156 Catholic clergy members sexually abused at least 600 children over six decades. The report lists the names of the abusers, including Fr. Duke.
According to the AG’s report, Fr. Duke committed multiple acts of child abuse at the Shrine of the Little Flower in Baltimore between 1944 and 1961. In 1988, a 47-year-old victim contacted the Archdiocese of Baltimore, alleging that Fr. Duke had sexually abused him. When confronted, Duke admitted to sexually abusing 26 children. Seven victims of sexual abuse ultimately came forward.
Fr. Duke admitted that the archdiocese was aware of Duke’s abusive actions as early as 1953 when two or three boys reported it to other priests. Duke said that he began abusing boys again one year after his period of “spiritual direction” that year. The archdiocese was again notified about the abuse in 1988 when a victim wrote about Duke’s “diabolically unique” evilness. The abuse occurred when the victim was in the 7th and 8th grades, in 1953 and 1954. At the time the letter was sent, Duke was retired, blind, and living in a nursing home. When interviewed, Duke admitted to abusing 26 boys between 1949 and 1961, including oral and anal rape. The victim settled with Fr. Duke for $25,000, and the settlement released both Duke and the archdiocese.
In 1993, another victim came forward one year after Duke’s death. That victim informed the archdiocese that Duke had abused him for over two years in the late 1940s by kissing him many times and fondling him once. The victim wrote, “It was a horrible nightmare that remains with me to this day.”
In September 2002, the archdiocese made the allegations against Duke public, which led several other victims to come forward. In September 2002, a victim wrote to the church that he was victimized by Duke numerous times between 1961 and 1965, beginning when he was 11. He said that after each of those sexual encounters, he revealed the incidents to other priests in confession, but the priests “never once gave me advice to run or to tell my parents.”
In September 2002, yet another victim notified the archdiocese that Duke sexually abused him starting in third or fourth grade, in 1946 or 1947. The abuse lasted through his freshman year in high school, likely in 1952 or 1953. The victim said that the abuse consisted of oral and anal rape two to three times a month and occurred in the principal’s office, Duke’s room, and Duke’s car. The victim told numerous church employees about the abuse, including other priests at confession.
In August 2003, a victim wrote a letter to Cardinal Keeler saying that he had been abused by Duke when he was in seventh and eighth grade, between 1949 and 1951. He stated that two or three times a month, during choir practice, Duke would take him to a private location to kiss and embrace him and that Duke once made him show his penis. Another victim came forward in 2010 to say that Duke had kissed and fondled him on two occasions, when he was in 7th or 8th grade, in 1960.
Fr. Duke died in 1992.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in Maryland. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Maryland, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help. Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.