Calvert Hall graduates release documents related to allegations against deceased priest

By Erik Zygmont

ezygmont@CatholicReview.org

TOWSON – Two graduates of Calvert Hall College High School held a press conference Aug. 13 at the Baltimore County Courts Building to release documents pertaining to an allegation of abuse against Monsignor Joseph A. Davies, a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore who died in 1992.

Frank Dingle of the Calvert Hall class of 1959, and Fran Bacon, of the class of 1952, say they want Monsignor Davies’ name removed from a scholarship offered by the Towson all-boys high school.

Materials distributed by Dingle include a two photocopied photographs of Monsignor Davies, in which he is labeled “chaplain.” The photos, according to the documents, were taken from the 1958 and 1959 Calvert Hall yearbooks.

Dingle, who is affiliated with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and Bacon, who said he was present in support of SNAP, said they also want the archdiocese to release names of deceased priests who have been accused of abuse.

Neither man said he was abused by Monsignor Davies, though Bacon said he has been a victim of abuse.

A spokesman for Calvert Hall said the school had no comment regarding the request to remove Monsignor Davies’ name from the scholarship.

Dingle provided the press with copies of 2003 correspondence between the archdiocese and the Washington County State’s Attorney, regarding an alleged victim of Monsignor Davies. In the correspondence, the state’s attorney said that no action would be taken because Monsignor Davies was deceased.

According to the correspondence, the abuse allegedly occurred in the 1970s in the rectory of St. Joseph in Hagerstown, where Monsignor Davies was pastor at the time.

The archdiocese released a statement Aug. 13 that said a report of sexual abuse by Monsignor Davies was made to the archdiocese Aug. 31, 1993, by a man in his 50s.

The statement said that the archdiocese reported that allegation in writing to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office Sept. 8, 1993, and offered the victim an apology and counseling assistance.

“Additional allegations against Monsignor Davies have been made in the ensuing years,” the archdiocese stated, “all of which have been reported in writing to the appropriate civil authorities at the time they were received. In each case the victims were offered an apology and counseling assistance.”

The statement went on to say that the archdiocese “has been forthcoming in naming all priests credibly accused in their lifetimes and has done so consistently since 2002.”

“At that time, Cardinal William H. Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore from 1989-2007, stated that there were a number of priests about whom the archdiocese received allegations of abuse after their death, with allegations dating back to the 1930s,” the statement continued.

“He noted that the allegations were always reported to civil authorities and alleged victims were offered counseling assistance. He publicly explained the archdiocese’s decision not to disclose those names since the archdiocese could not question the accused.”

The archdiocese’s statement also urged anyone with knowledge of any child sexual abuse to report it immediately to civil authorities.

“If clergy or other church personnel are suspected of committing the abuse, we ask that you call the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Office of Child and Youth Protection Hotline at 1-866-417-7469,” the statement concluded.
 

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