Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Decision to Review Files of Deceased Clergy Reflects Rigorous Standards of Accountability and Transparency
Archbishop William E. Lori, announced today the addition of the names of 23 deceased priests and brothers previously and credibly accused to the online list of clergy accused of child sexual abuse. The addition of the names reflects a revision to the Archdiocese’s long-standing policy of not publishing names of priests who were accused of child sexual abuse for the first time after they had already died.
“Here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, there is absolutely zero tolerance for any bishop, priest, lay employee or volunteer credibly accused of the sexual abuse of a minor or the sexual harassment of an adult,” said Archbishop Lori. “My decision, in consultation with our Independent Review Board, to add these additional 23 names is the result of a further review of deceased members of the clergy who were accused after their deaths and who were previously reported to law enforcement. We are confident that we’ve implemented rigorous standards of accountability and transparency and we will continue applying those standards.”
The full list, which can be found on the Archdiocese’s website, was first published in 2002 and originally contained the names of 57 priests and brothers who had served in the Archdiocese and who had been accused, in their lifetime, of child sexual abuse. When the original list was published in 2002, the Archdiocese stated its policy of not publicly naming priests and brothers who had been accused only after they had died. Since then, the Archdiocese has periodically added the names of clergy who were subsequently accused of child sexual abuse during their lifetime or who were identified publicly in connection with such an allegation if such clergy had an assignment in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. With today’s addition, the total number of priests and brothers whose names have been published by the Archdiocese as having been accused of committing child sexual abuse over the past 80 years is 126.
The Archdiocese reports all allegations of child sexual abuse, regardless of credibility, to law enforcement, including to the Maryland Attorney General, who has established a hotline for reporting allegations of child sexual abuse in Maryland. The Archdiocese also reports allegations of child sexual abuse to its Independent Review Board.
Archbishop Lori and the Archdiocese’s Independent Review Board jointly directed that the names of priests and brothers accused of child sexual abuse after their deaths be added under the following criteria:
- if the Archdiocese received an allegation of child sexual abuse from more than one victim;
- if a single allegation of child sexual abuse were substantiated through external information that corroborated that sexual abuse occurred; or
- if the name of the priest or brother were already published elsewhere in connection with an allegation of child sexual abuse.
Upon the recommendation of the Archdiocese’s Independent Review Board, the Archdiocese is not disclosing the names of additional priests and brothers where the allegation of child sexual abuse could not be substantiated or was ruled out, or where the allegation was from a third party and the Archdiocese could not speak with the alleged victim.
Today’s announcement is the latest effort to build upon Archbishop Lori’s call for a renewed commitment to transparency in the Church’s response to the sexual abuse of minors. In January 2019, the Archbishop announced the implementation of a third-party system for reporting allegations of abuse and misconduct against bishops serving in the Archdiocese. The full overview of the Archdiocese’s protocols and procedures can be found at www.archbalt.org/accountability.
Recently, the Independent Review Board issued its first annual report to parishioners regarding the Board’s review of the Archdiocese’s handling of abuse cases the prior year. Archbishop Lori also recently announced that the Archdiocese was found to be in full compliance with mandatory child protection policies by an independent national auditing firm, which conducted its review in November 2018.
The complete list of the names of priests and brothers published by the Archdiocese, to date, can be found at www.archbalt.org/child-and-youth-protection/priests-accused-of-abuse/.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore is committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse. We urge anyone who has any knowledge of any child sexual abuse to come forward, and to report it immediately to law enforcement. If clergy or other church personnel is suspected of committing the abuse, we ask that you also call the Archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection Hotline at 1-866-417-7469 or the Archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection at 410-547-5599.