Fr. Joseph J. Kruse – Archdiocese of Baltimore

by | Jul 25, 2023 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

 Father Joseph J. Kruse

Archdiocese of Baltimore

Joseph Kruse Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1983

Laicized: 2017

Assignment History:

  • 1981-1982: St. Bernard (Riverdale, MD)
  • 1982-1984: St. John (Westminster, MD)
  • 1984-1987: Cathedral of Mary Our Queen (Baltimore, MD)
  • 1987-1988: Medical Leave of Absence
  • 1987-1998: Institute of Living (Hartford, CT)
  • 1988: St. Brigid Rectory & Hartford Hospital (Hartford, CT)
  • 1988-1989: Franklin Square Hospital (Baltimore, MD)
  • 1989: Leave of Absence


Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Joseph J. Kruse:

Fr. Joseph J. Kruse was ordained a Catholic priest and worked in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. In 2002, Fr. Kruse 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 Father Joseph Kruse.

According to the Attorney General’s report, in September of 1987, Fr. Kruse confessed that he sexually assaulted and abused two teenage boys the night prior. Kruse reported that he was “involved with an 18-year-old boy.”  The handwritten notes stated that Kruse touched the boy’s genitals while asleep and naked. The notes say the boy became angry and called Kruse “sick.” Kruse explained that he “counseled” and “helped” the boy since the boy was 12 years old.  A few days later, the victim’s mother separately reported the assault. She said that Kruse came over for dinner, and after dinner, she went to bed, but Kruse was still visiting with her sons. In the middle of the night, the boy ran into her room, very upset, calling her “Mommy,” which he had not done since he was little. He told her that Kruse entered his room, got into his bed while sleeping, and began touching his genitals. The boy told his mother that Kruse told the boy he loved him and “that when two people love each other that it was okay for them to have sex.” The abuse was not reported to the authorities.

Fr. Kruse also confessed to another incident between March and May 1985, when Fr. Kruse sexually abused a 16-year-old boy. The notes stated that it was a similar incident. Fr. Kruse was at St. John’s for confirmation when he stopped by to see family. The victim had gone to bed before Kruse got there. Kruse went and laid in bed next to the boy, rubbed his chest, and reached his hand down to touch his genitals. The notes say that Kruse performed oral sex on the boy, and the boy said that he needed to tell his parents. A few weeks later, the boy’s parents expressed concerns regarding Kruse and their other children as they realized there was more to the story than initially was told. There were additional incidents that involved Fr. Kruse picking up kids and hitchhikers on Eastern Avenue.

On September 30, 1987, the archdiocese temporarily removed Kruse’s faculties and sent him for residential treatment at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. Kruse was sent a short-term disability claim form from the archdiocese to have his doctor fill it out and return. Kruse was granted short-term disability, provided Kruse insurance, and covered the bills for his treatment and therapy.

In 1988, Kruse completed his inpatient residential treatment program. Kruse’s discharge notes stated that Kruse had a lengthy history of “sexually acting out,” even before he committed himself to a celibate lifestyle. The doctor expressed his concerns about his ability to control his urges. His diagnosis was described as a “psychosexual disorder, not elsewhere classified.”

That same month, Fr. Kruse was placed in residency in St. Bridgid Rectory in Hartford, Connecticut, and was assigned to hospital ministry at the Hartford Hospital, per the diocese’s request. Six months later, Kruse’s faculties were reinstated, and he was assigned to serve as a chaplain at Franklin Square Hospital upon his return to Baltimore, effective July 1, 1988.

In the fall of 1988, the 18-year-old victim and one of his parents filed a civil suit against Fr. Kruse and the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The Archdiocese settled the suit before trial with a small monetary payment of $2,899.50 to cover medical bills related to the boy’s trauma.

One year later, in 1989, Kruse requested a leave of absence from the priesthood, which was granted. In February 2017, the archdiocese submitted Kruse’s request for laicization. In a 2016 “Letter to the Holy Father Requesting Return to the Lay State,” Kruse wrote, “I voluntarily left the active ministry in 1989 because I had sexually abused two young boys, ages 16 and 18… I freely admit that these events took place, much to my regret and sorrow.” On May 20, 2017, Pope Francis granted Kruse’s request for dispensation from all priestly obligations.

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.