Fr. Paschal Morlino – Archdiocese of Baltimore

by | Oct 17, 2023 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Paschal Morlino

Archdiocese of Baltimore/Benedictine

Paschal Morlino Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1960

Removed: 2023

Assignment History:

  • 1966-1969: Church of the Sacred Heart (Savannah, GA)
  • 1969-1971: St. Vincent Basilica (Latrobe, PA)
  • 1971-1973: Latrobe Ministerium (Latrobe, PA)
  • 1976-1978: Saint Mary’s Abbey (Morristown, NJ)
  • 1978-1981: St. Vincent Basilica (Latrobe, PA)
  • 1981-1984: St. James Parish (Waynesburg, OH)
  • 1984-2023: St. Benedict Church (Baltimore, MD)

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father Paschal Morlino

Father Paschal A. Morlino, OSB, was a Benedictine monk of St. Vincent Archabbey and worked in several dioceses over his 60-year career, including the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Morlino was active in Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) groups and served as president of the Southwest Baltimore Presidents’ Council of Neighborhood Associations, elected to represent the clergy of Baltimore’s Metro West section of the Urban Vicariate, and served on the Archdiocesan Priests Council, the Urban Vicariate Council.

According to recent media reports, on October 12, 2023, Fr. Morlino was dismissed as pastor of St. Benedict Church in Baltimore, where he served for nearly 40 years and became known for his longstanding efforts to help residents of poor neighborhoods surrounding the church. His removal was due to recent findings that Morlino paid a $200,000 settlement in 2018 when allegations of fraud and sexual assault were made.

Morlino’s dismissal comes amid an investigation by The Baltimore Banner that brought details of the 2018 settlement payment to the attention of archdiocese officials. The Archdiocese of Baltimore released a statement saying everyone took action as soon it learned of the settlement.

“The Archdiocese immediately engaged in an internal investigation, and within 24 hours, a decision was made to remove Father Morlino as pastor of Saint Benedict Church in Southwest Baltimore by the Archdiocese and the Benedictines, and his priestly faculties were jointly suspended,” the Archdiocese of Baltimore said. “He is no longer permitted to celebrate Mass or engage in public ministry in the Archdiocese. Fr. Morlino has returned to his religious community, Saint Vincent Archabbey, in Latrobe, PA. The Archdiocese and Benedictines intend to conduct further investigation.”

The Baltimore Banner interviewed Morlino after they received intel on Morlino involving rape and fraud that led to a $200K settlement. In that interview, Morlino confirmed that five years ago, in 2018, he paid $200,000 to the man who accused him of rape but denied that he had assaulted or defrauded the man. Morlino stated, “I just wanted to keep him quiet, to be rid of him, because he was just stirring up trouble.” “My conscience is clear; it’s all stuff that he made up.” The man who accused Morlino died in April 2020. The Archdiocese of Baltimore launched an investigation into Rev. Paschal Morlino after he admitted the payment to The Baltimore Banner.

The Baltimore Banner received information on Morlino’s settlement and accusations from a woman who was friends with two adult men who told her about Morlino’s assault. This same woman was a former parishioner who was once close with Morlino. She reported a complaint in 2018 with the Archdiocese via an online portal expressing her concerns about Morlino. She then met with two church officials — Monsignor James Hannon, director of the division of clergy personnel, and Jerri Burkhardt, director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection. The archdiocese said the complaint did not include any information about the issues, just that it centered on Father Morlino’s alleged sexual harassment of an adult man who was already deceased.

According to the Baltimore Banner, a man confided to the woman that he had vacationed with Morlino many years before on a cruise, and one night, the man woke up with Morlino on top of him. She told the reporters that she encouraged her friend to call a lawyer. After he died in 2020, she found letters from attorneys who negotiated his claim. She provided the letters to The Banner.

In one dated Jan. 24, 2018, her friend’s attorney demanded $375,000 to prevent a lawsuit and accused Morlino of forging the man’s signature on bank records. The man had worked for Morlino, fundraising for the church, cooking, cleaning, and carrying out errands. You stole all of his cash from checks, telling him his expenses exceeded the balances of his checks,” the lawyer wrote. The letters also accused Morlino of raping her adult client on the cruise in September 2000 and of multiple rapes in the following years.

Morlino corroborated that he went on a cruise with the man and three other friends but had no sexual contact with the man, either on the cruise or in the years after. The sides settled in February 2018 for $200,000, according to documents that The Banner reviewed and the pastor confirmed. When asked about the alleged fraud, Morlino said the two agreed that the man would deposit his paychecks into a church account that paid for his health care. Morlino told the Banner that he took care of the man’s health insurance, and they had a deal. Morlino also said he paid the tax debt on the man’s home. Their longtime friendship ended when Morlino dismissed the man from fundraising and other duties. The other man involved in the woman’s 2018 report to the Archdiocese also said that Morlino raped him on a different cruise but died a few years prior.

Morlino’s name does not appear in the attorney general’s report on the history of sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and he has not been charged with anything.

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.