Terrible Catholic Church Report: More than 140 priests abused 600 boys in Maryland for 80 years

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More than 150 Catholic priests and other people close to Archdiocese of Baltimore sexually abused more than 600 children and often escaped accountability, according to a long-awaited state report released Wednesday, revealing the extent of the abuses that have spanned 80 years and accusing church authorities of decades of cover-up

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The report paints a damning picture of the archdiocese, which is the Catholic diocese oldest in the country and extends through much of Maryland. In some parishes, schools and congregations there were more than one offender at the same timesuch as in St. Mark’s Parish of Catonsville, where 11 offenders lived and worked between 1964 and 2004.

a deacon He admitted to abusing more than 100 children. to another priest he was allowed to fake a treat against hepatitis and find other excuses to avoid facing abuse allegations.

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The Maryland Attorney General’s office has released the results of an investigation duration of one year during Holy Week – considered the holiest time of the year for Christianity, before Easter Sunday – and stated that the number of victims it is probably much older.

Portions of the report are redacted to protect the confidential material used by the grand jury, which means that the identities of some accused clergymen have been redacted.

Kurt Rupprecht, one of the victims, as a child.  Photo: AP

Kurt Rupprecht, one of the victims, as a child. Photo: AP

“The surprising pervasiveness of the abuse underscores the fault of the ecclesiastical hierarchystates the report. “The sheer number of abusers and victims, the depravity of abusers’ conduct, and how often you notice abusers they were given the opportunity to continue to abuse some children are amazing.

The disclosure of the redacted findings marks a significant turning point in an ongoing legal battle over their publication and adds to mounting evidence from parishes across the country as numerous similar revelations have rocked the Catholic Church in recent years.

Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, in a statement posted online, apologized to the victims and said the report “detailed a reprehensible period in the history of this archdiocese, a period that will not be covered up, ignored or forgotten.”

“For the most part, it’s hard to imagine that such evil deeds could actually have happened,” Lori said. “Victim-survivors around the world know the hard truth: These evil acts have happened.”

The Maryland attorney general's office released the results of a year-long investigation over Easter.  Photo: AP

The Maryland attorney general’s office released the results of a year-long investigation over Easter. Photo: AP

The state legislature also passed legislation on Wednesday finish the prescription of civil lawsuits related to abuse and sent it to Gov. Wes Moore, who said he supported it. The Archdiocese of Baltimore says it paid over $13.2 million for treatment and compensation to 301 victims of abuse since the 1980s, including $6.8 million for 105 voluntary settlements.

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown, who took office in January, said the investigation shows “widespread, pernicious and persistent abuse”. State investigators began their work in 2019; they examined more than 100,000 pages of documents dating back to the 1940s and interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses.

The abuse, a “life sentence”

Victims said the report was a public reckoning long-awaited with shameful accusations that the church has been facing for decades.

Jean Hargadon Wehner she said she was abused in Baltimore as a teenager since A.Joseph Maskell, a priest who was counselor and chaplain at his Catholic high school. He said he reported the abuse to church authorities in the early 1990s, when his memories of the trauma finally surfaced, some two decades after the incident. being repeatedly raped.

“I was hoping they would have done the right thing in 1992,” he told reporters Wednesday. “I’m still angry.”

Authorities and victims have spoken of the reporting of abuses.  Photo: AP

Authorities and victims have spoken of the reporting of abuses. Photo: AP

Maskell abused at least 39 victims, according to the report. He denied the allegations before his death in 2001 and has never been charged. The Associated Press does not typically name abuse victims, but Wehner has spoken out publicly to draw attention to the matter.

This was said by Kurt Rupprecht, who was also a victim of abuse as a child he was in his 40s when he reconstructed his memories traumatic He said he was a little relieved to realize this because it explained decades of self-destructive behavior and mental health problemsbut that the event also left him overcome with anger and disbelief.

Rupprecht explained that his assailant had been assigned to the Diocese of Wilmington, which covers some counties on Maryland’s east coast.

“We are here to tell the truth and never stop”he said after the press conference. “We meet every day. It’s our life sentence“.

The Survivors Network of Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, noted that the report lists more names of abusers than have been made public by archdiocesan officials. The organization has asked the archbishop to explain the discrepancies.

they are in progress other investigations affecting the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, which includes parts of Maryland.

The archdiocese took steps to protect the defendants

The Baltimore report reveals that church leaders they focused their attention on keeping the abuse hidden, not on the protection of victims or on the cessation of abuse. In some situations, victims ended up reporting the abuses to priests who were themselves abusers.

And when law enforcement has become aware of allegations of abuse, police and prosecutors often he showed deference and “disinterest”. to find out what church leaders knew and when they knew it,” according to the report.

The document, of nearly 500 pagesit includes numerous cases of church authorities taking steps to protect accused clerics, including allowing them to retire with financial aid instead of being expelled, allowing them to remain in ministry, and failing to report alleged abuses to the police.

In 1964, for example, Father Laurence Brett admitted to sexually abusing a teenager at a Catholic university in Connecticut.

He was sent to New Mexico under the guise of being treated for hepatitis and then to Sacramento, where another teenager reported being abused by Brett, according to the report. He was later sent to Baltimore, where he served as a chaplain at a Catholic all-boys high school and abused more than 20 victims.

After several students accused him of bullying in 1973, Brett was allowed to resign, claiming that she had to take care of a sick aunt. School officials did not report the abuse to the authorities and dozens of other victims later came forward. Brett was never charged with any crime and died in 2010.

The report mainly focuses on the years before 2002when a Boston Globe investigation into abuses and cover-ups in the Archdiocese of Boston sparked an explosion of revelations across the country.

The country’s Catholic bishops therefore agreed, for the first time, to implement reforms that include lifetime ban exercise the ministry for every priest who has committed a single act of abuse.

Although new national policies have significantly improved the internal handling of abuse complaints in the Archdiocese of Baltimore since 2002, the major flaws still existedaccording to the report.

Only one person has been charged in the investigation: Neil Adleberg, 74, arrested last year and charged with rape and other charges. The case is still open. Officials said he was wrestling coach in a Catholic high school in the 1970s and then held that role in the 2014-2015 school year.

The alleged abuses occurred in 2013 and 2014, but the victim was not a student at the school, authorities said.

The court will consider releasing other names in the future.

State attorneys have asked a court for permission to release the report, and a Baltimore court judge ruled last month that an redacted version should be made public. The court ordered the withholding of the names and allegations of 37 people accused of wrongdoing – whose names came to light during confidential grand jury proceedings – but will consider publishing a more complete version in the future.

Lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday to end statute of limitations in the state, after similar proposals failed in recent years. Currently, victims of child sexual abuse in Maryland cannot sue after their 38th birthday. The bill would remove the age limit and allow for retroactive claims.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has long been under investigation for his handling of allegations of abuse.

In 2002, Cardinal William Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore for nearly two decades, made public a list of 57 priests accused of sexual abuse, earning a reputation for transparency at a time when the national extent of the crimes remained unknown.

However, that changed when a Pennsylvania grand jury indicted Keeler for covering up sexual abuse allegations when he was Bishop of Harrisburg in the 1980s.

Translation: Elisa Carnelli

Source: Clarin

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