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Catholic Church sexual abuse victims in Baltimore speak out in favor of AG report release

Catholic Bishops
Peter Smith/AP
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AP
David Lorenz, Maryland director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, speaks at a sidewalk news conference outside the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gathering in Baltimore on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.

Individuals abused by Catholic priests in Maryland gathered in front of the Baltimore Archdiocese office on Friday to speak out in favor of public release of the grand jury investigation into religious leaders accused of abuse. After four years of investigation, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office has gathered a 456-page report that identifies 158 priests who are accused of abusing more than 600 children over an 80 year period. Attorney General Brian Frosh is seeking a court order, as required by state law, to release the grand jury documents to the public.

David Lorenz, Maryland director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, highlighted part of the report that accuses the Archdiocese of Baltimore of knowingly hiding the abuse.

“Time and again, the Archdiocese chose the abuser over the abused, the powerful over the weak, the adult over the child,” Lorenz said. “Hundreds of Marylanders have suffered mentally and physically for decades because of the Archdiocese in decisions.”

Diocese.jpg
Scott Maucione
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A member of the Maryland Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests held a sign outside the Archdiocese of Baltimore on Friday.

In the court motion seeking to disclose that investigation the Attorney General described the Archdiocese’s actions as “immeasurable.”

“There are almost certainly more as the Department of Justice’s Annual Crime Victimization Report has demonstrated most incidents of sexual assault go unreported,” according to the motion. “Many survivors of clergy abuse reported battling depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety as adults.”

Substance abuse and difficulty maintaining intimate relationships are other symptoms of abuse, according to the Attorney General. Two victims reported suicidal ideations or attempts, and two other victims took their own lives.

The Maryland Attorney General documented examples of abuse cover ups reaching back to the 1980s.

The state is seeking the Baltimore Circuit Court to allow release of the report. A judge could order sections to be redacted. It’s also unknown when the matter will be decided.

Scott is the Health Reporter for WYPR.
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