You can read it now. The Attorney General’s Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. It is an incriminating story, based on a Baltimore grand jury investigation, telling the “incontrovertible history . . . one of pervasive and persistent abuse by priests and other Archdiocese personnel. It is also a history of repeated dismissal or cover up of that abuse by the Catholic Church hierarchy.” (p. 1). Abuse of more than 600 victims by 156 persons in the diocese, with an appendix that gives the names of 43 more abusers from Baltimore who committed abuse outside of Maryland.
Everyone should read it. You should know what the victims and survivors of abuse had the courage to report and how that abuse still affects them.
Reading it might also encourage you to support the attorney general’s two recommendations: “amend statute of limitations for civil actions involving child sex abuse,” (p. 19), and “expand public accountability.” (p. 20). Survivors of abuse will do better whenever their suffering is recognized instead of covered up, as it has been by the church for so many years.
The Bad News
The whole report is bad news. It tells horrifying stories of repeated sexual abuse of children. More than 300 of the more than 600 victims contacted the attorney general, whose list of abusers has 156 names on it. Well, 146 names. Ten names are blocked out and given numbers 147–156 “because they were not known to be deceased at the time of the Report and had not previously been listed as credibly accused by the Archdiocese of Baltimore or otherwise publicly identified.” (p. vi, n. 2).
The blocking is much longer and more dramatic 13 pages later, under the heading of “Church Leadership.” A page and a half of the report are blacked out, with the names Official A, Official B, Official C, Official D, and Official E added to replace the real names. Then it is only those fake names that are used for the rest of the report to say all the horrible things those officials did for many years. Footnotes on those pages are blacked out too.
I agree with Maryland Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests Director David Lorenz, who is pictured on Twitter showing the blacked-out pages and complaining “We don’t know anything” from this part of the report. Why weren’t more names released in a report that is so damning of what church leadership did? A Baltimore judge decided what would be released and what would not be released.
Current Baltimore Archbishop William Lori made a statement before the report’s release. Do you think his name was blacked out? I don’t know. I would like to know today which church leaders led the cover-up, past and present, to keep them from doing it in the future.
Any Good News?
Imagine what it took to produce this damning report. The AG tells us they reviewed “[h]undreds of thousands of documents dating back to the 1940s” to be complete in their review of this “long and sordid history.” (p. 2).
In interviews, the AG noted that the statute of limitations had run on many of these claims, so many cases of abuse cannot be prosecuted. The report tells you the history of the statute, starting on page 7. Read ahead to page 19 and you will find that the report’s first recommendation is to “Amend statute of limitations for civil actions involving child sex abuse.” There is a footnote to an essay posted by CHILD USA. Penn Professor Marci Hamilton, Founder and CEO of CHILD USA and CHILD USAdvocacy, has been a long and steady voice for statutes of limitations reform, arguing around the country that victims of abuse deserve their day in court. This report cites CHILD USA’s conclusion that “the average age of victims when they report child sex abuse is 52 years.” (p. 19). So why toss them out of court when they are 25? It is great that these lawyers understand that abusers are the ones who benefit from keeping victims out of court. Now it is time for all the states to open their courts to survivors of sexual abuse.
A few years ago I watched the Netflix movie The Keepers, which tells the story of women reporting how they were abused at Archbishop Keough High School and how the connected murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik was never solved. Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Fitzgerald Schaub are Keough alumnae who brought the abuse story alive in the movie, and Schaub tweeted a picture of Keepers Jean and Teresa meeting with the press after the release of this report.
Memories of the movie and of Keough’s great alumnae made me look at Father Anthony Joseph Maskell, number 87, p. 257, ordained 1965, at Keough from 1969 to 1975, about whom “at least 39 people” report that “they or people they know were sexually abused by [him].” (p. 257). One of his students? He “told her to take her clothes off and sit on his lap. He then touched her breasts and asked her graphic sexual questions. At times, Maskell also administered pelvic exams and enemas to this individual. He also called another student to his office and had the other student perform sex acts on the girl.” (p. 259).
The report adds that Maskell was aided by Father Edward Neil Magnus, number 84, p. 249, ordained in 1963, at Keough from 1969 to 1972. Magnus participated in the abuse with Maskell. “In 1992, a woman reported that she was sexually abused by Neil Magnus and Joseph Maskell in the late 1960s while at Keough. The abuse included oral rape, voyeurism, and vaginal rape every two to three weeks for multiple years. Magnus described his ejaculate as the Holy Spirit and said that she received holy communion. Magnus, in Maskell’s office, made her and two other girls take off their tops and then photographed them on multiple occasions.” (p. 250). Another student? “Magnus performed an apparent exorcism in which he cut her with a crucifix, forced her to perform oral sex on him and the officer, raped her using the crucifix, and sat on her back while she was raped by the officer.” (p. 251).
There were more than 600 victims of abuse. The report is 456 pages long. You can read page after page of similar abuse attributed to these 156 abusers. For your information, following are names of abusers in the Archdiocese of Baltimore:
List of Abusers 1. Father Louis Affrica 2. Father James Avant 3. Father Bruce Ball 4. Father John Banko 5. Father Michael Barnes 6. Father Thomas Bauernfeind 7. Father Vincent Bechtel 8. Father Ronald Belschner 9. Father Thomas Bevan 10. Father Maurice Blackwell 11. Father Louis Bonacci 12. Father John Bostwick 13. Reverend H. Cornell Bradley 14. Father William Braun 15. Father Laurence Brett 16. Father Frederick Brinkmann 17. Stephen Brotzman 18. Father Wayland Brown 19. Father Gerard Bugge 20. Father Robert Callahan 21. Father John Carney 22. Monsignor John Corbett 23. Father Brian Cox 24. Father Charles Coyle 25. Father Fernando Cristancho 26. Father Robert Cullen 27. Father Joseph Davies 28. Father Richard Deakin 29. Father Alfred Dean 30. Father Donald Dimitroff 31. Brother Francis Dolan 32. Father James Dowdy 33. Father Robert Duerr 34. Father John Duggan1 35. Father Frederick Duke 36. Father Walter Emala 37. Father Francis Ernst 38. Father Luigi Esposito 39. Father Terence Evans 40. Father Alfred Ewanowski 41. Father Kenneth Farabaugh 42. Father Alphonsus Figlewski 43. Deacon Joseph Firlie 44. Father Carl Fisher 45. Sister Theonella Flood 46. Father Daniel Free 47. Father Joseph Gallagher 48. Father Joseph Gerg 49. Father Steven Girard 50. Father Mark Haight 51. Father John Hammer 52. Father Edward Heilman 53. Father Marion Helowicz 54. Father Joseph Hill 55. Monsignor Robert Hiltz 56. Father George Hopkins 57. Father Joseph Hopkins 58. Father Robert Hopkins 59. Father William Jameson 60. Father Albert Julian 61. Deacon John Justice 62. Father Thomas F. Kelly 63. Father Thomas M. Kelly 64. Father Joseph Kenney 65. Father Simon Kenny 66. Father Paul Knapp 67. Father Michael Kolodziej 68. Father Joseph Krach 69. Father William “Jay” Krouse 70. Father Joseph Kruse 71. Deacon Thomas Kuhl 72. Brother Xavier Langan 73. Father Michael LaMountain 74. Father James Lannon 75. Father Ross LaPorta 76. Father Regis Larkin 77. Father David Leary 78. Father Francis LeFevre 79. Father Robert Lentz 80. Father John Lippold 81. Father Robert John Lochner 82. Father Anthony Lorento 83. Father George Loskarn 84. Father Edward Neil Magnus 85. Father Ronald Mardaga 86. Father Kenneth Martin 87. Father Joseph Maskell 88. Father Benedict Mawn v 89. Brother Constantine McCarthy 90. Monsignor William McCrory 91. Father Francis McGrath 92. Father Eugene McGuire 93. Patrick McIntyre 94. Brother Lawrence Meegen 95. Father Raymond Melville 96. John Merzbacher 97. Father Joseph Messer 98. Father Ronald Michaud 99. Father William Migliorini 100. Father John Mike 101. Father Jerome Moody 102. Brother Eugene Morgan 103. Brother William Morgan 104. Father John Mountain 105. Father Timothy Murphy 106. Father J. Glenn Murray 107. Father Alan Nagle 108. Father Robert Newman 109. Deacon Leo O’Hara 110. Father Garrett Orr 111. Father Henry O’Toole 112. Father John Padian 113. Father John Peacock 114. Father Dennis Pecore 115. Father Adrian Poletti 116. Eric Price 117. Father Blair Raum 118. Brother Thomas Rochacewicz 119. Father Francis Roscetti 120. Father Charles Rouse 121. Brother Marius John Shine 122. Father William Simms 123. Father David Smith 124. Monsignor Richard Smith 125. Father Thomas Smith 126. Father Michael Spillane 127. Father Albert Stallings 128. Father Edmund Stroup 129. Brother Cuthbert Sullivan 130. Father Francis Sweeney 131. Father Alcuin Tasch 132. Brother Cuthbert/Joseph Thibault 133. Brother Thomas Tomasunas 134. Father Jerome Toohey vi 135. Father James Toulas 136. Father Gerald Tragesser 137. Father Jorge Velez-Lopez 138. Father Francis Wagner 139. Father William Walsh 140. Father William Wehrle 141. Monsignor Thomas Whelan 142. Father John Wielebski 143. Monsignor Roger Wooden 144. Father Howard Yeakle 145. Sister Francis Yocum 146. Monsignor Henry Zerhuse 147. #147 148. #148 149. #149 150. #150 151. #151 152. #152 153. #153 154. #154 155. #155 156. #156
And those are just the abuses in Maryland. There are 43 more names of Baltimore abusers who abused in other states.
This is why I approve of statute of limitations reform and public accountability.