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Maryland AG hopes abuse report ‘exposes’ archdiocese’s transgressions ‘to the fullest extent possible’

Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown addresses the media April 5, 2023, prior to the release of a report on sexual abuse by representatives of the church in the Baltimore Archdiocese, for the most part from the 1940s to the early 1990s, as well as the way the archdiocese responded to reports of abuse. (OSV News photo/George P. Matysek Jr., Catholic Review)

BALTIMORE (OSV News) — Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown said April 5 that he hoped his office’s report on child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, namely from the 1940s to the early 1990s, will expose “transgressions to the fullest extent possible.”

Speaking with journalists moments before his office released the long-anticipated report, Brown said that while stories of abuse have been documented in the past, his office hoped to “make public for the first time the enormous scope and scale of the abuse and concealment perpetrated by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.”

“While it may be too late for the survivors to see criminal justice served, we hope that exposing the archdiocese’s transgressions to the fullest extent possible will bring some measure of accountability and perhaps encourage others to come forward,” Brown said.

He said more than 300 people contacted the attorney general’s office since its investigation began five years ago, with his office interviewing hundreds of survivors and witnesses.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore cooperated with the investigation, turning over hundreds of thousands of pages of documents going back to the 1940s.

“What was consistent throughout the stories was the absolute authority and power these abusive priests and the church leadership held over survivors, their families and their communities,” Brown said. “The report seeks to document this long and sordid history.”

The attorney general said subpoenas have already been issued as his office investigates sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, the two other Catholic dioceses whose territory includes parts of Maryland.

When asked by the Catholic Review, Baltimore’s archdiocesan news outlet, whether there are plans to conduct investigations into other organizations or the public schools, Brown said only that “our focus right now is on the archdiocese.”

The report redacts some names that were obtained in the grand jury process, Brown said, and they cannot be disclosed without a court order or permission. He said the court will have his office notify those individuals “and give them an opportunity to look at what is being set forth and alleged and give them an opportunity — the court will — to object.”

“I can’t say today what the outcome will eventually be,” he said, “but there may be some redactions that are later disclosed.”

Sex abuse survivors spoke to the media in a news conference following the release of the report. Some expressed frustration that portions of the report were redacted. One called the nearly 500-page report’s release “a huge step,” but “not the end.”

George P. Matysek Jr. is managing editor of the Catholic Review, news outlet of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

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