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Bombshell report details child sex abuse in Baltimore Archdiocese

The Maryland attorney general's report documents more than 600 cases of abuse over 60 years.
Posted at 1:37 PM, Apr 05, 2023

The Archdiocese of Baltimore is linked to more than 600 cases of child sexual abuse and plans to cover up the acts, according to a partially redacted report released Wednesday by Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown.

The nearly 500-page report details sexual abuse allegations against "156 current or former Catholic clergy, seminarians, deacons, members of Catholic religious orders, teachers at Catholic schools, and other employees of the Archdiocese in the Baltimore area." It also includes  43 other clergy who resided within the Archdiocese but "committed sexual abuse outside the Archdiocese of Baltimore."


Judge's gavel.

Judge approves release of church sex abuse report

Authorities immediately began preparing a redacted version of an investigative report detailing sex abuse allegations against more than 150 Roman Catholic priests.


What names are redacted in this report?

The report's release follows a four-year investigation conducted via grand jury subpoenas. Under state law, those proceedings and findings are kept confidential.

Lawyers for the state petitioned the court for permission to release their findings, an effort the Archdiocese of Baltimore declared late last year it would not oppose.

In February, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Robert Taylor ruled the report is in the public's interest and should be released. 

“The need for disclosure outweighs the need for secrecy,” Taylor wrote. 

He ordered the report be partially redacted before its release. Taylor ordered prosecutors to redact the names and titles of 37 people in the report. Those people are accused of either committing or enabling abuse and will be contacted to review their sections of the report. Depending on their responses, Taylor may restore their names and allow re-publication of the report.

In 60 other cases, Taylor ordered the attorney general's office to rephrase the report to avoid identification of individuals.

In 91 cases, Taylor said the accused are deceased and found no reason to redact their names.

Some of the accused priests named in the report have reportedly been previously publicly identified by the Baltimore Archdiocese, according to The Associated Press.

What names appear in the report?

The names of more than 100 people associated with the Archdiocese appear in the report. Many of them are accused of child sex abuse on numerous occasions. Here are a few of the names mentioned throughout the report:

Father Anthony Joseph Maskell 

Anthony Maskell is one of the priests mentioned in the report multiple times. The report says Maskell served in several capacities over approximately 30 years working for the Catholic Church. 

“At least 39 people have reported that they or people they know were sexually abused by Maskell,” the report states.

Father Francis McGrath

Francis McGrath is accused of child sex abuse in at least eight cases. He reportedly served in various roles, including as a teacher, in Baltimore. One of his victims said he was 11 years old at the time he was abused. 

Father Thomas Smith

After a victim came forward in 1988, Smith reportedly admitted to the Archdiocese that he had sexually abused multiple boys in the 1960s. 

“The Archdiocese did not report this abuse to anyone and let Smith continue in his assignment,” the report states. 

He served as an assistant pastor and pastor from 1950 to 1993. The report states that he died by suicide after another victim came forward in 1993. 

Will this report spark new laws in Maryland?

Maryland lawmakers are considering lifting the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits filed against institutions for child sexual abuse, according to Scripps News Baltimore. As Maryland law stands today, alleged victims cannot sue after the age of 38 despite evidence that many victims do not come forward until closer to the age of 50.

Lawmakers have for years debated revisions to the statute of limitations, but the reported release of this report is generating new support.

The Maryland Senate passed legislation on March 16 that would repeal the statute of limitations without limit. The Child Victims Act of 2023 is a similar bill being considered in the Maryland House, which is widely expected to pass. Gov. Wes Moore has announced his support for the bill.

But the Maryland Catholic Conference has called the legislation “unconstitutional," saying it goes beyond what is "fair." It called the idea "draconian" and "unprecedented" and has warned it could bankrupt the Archdiocese of Baltimore. 

Do other states have statutes of limitations on child sex abuse claims?

There are no statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse in 15 states, according to Child USAdvocacy