A report released by the state of Maryland on Wednesday revealed that more than 600 children were sexually abused by over 150 Catholic priests and other officials associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The abuse persisted for over 80 years, and church leaders were accused of covering up the abuse.
Widespread Abuse and Cover-Up
The report highlighted the prevalence and frequency of known abusers being allowed to continue their acts. Multiple abusers were present in certain parishes, schools, and congregations at the same time.
The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) demanded an explanation from the archbishop. Church authorities were more concerned with keeping abuse hidden than with helping victims or stopping abuse.
The study contains multiple examples of officials taking steps to protect accused clergy, such as allowing them to retire with financial support rather than being expelled, allowing them to remain in the ministry, and failing to disclose alleged abuse to law enforcement authorities.
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Response and Compensation
Baltimore Archbishop William Lori apologized to the victims, calling the report “reprehensible,” and the state legislature passed a bill to end the statute of limitations on abuse-related civil lawsuits.
Since the 1980s, according to Fox News, the Baltimore archdiocese has given approximately $13.2 million in compensation to 301 abuse victims. Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown condemned the abuse as “pervasive, pernicious, and persistent.” Victims said the report was a long-overdue public reckoning with shameful accusations the church has been facing for decades.
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