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More than 150 Catholic priests and others associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore have sexually abused more than 600 children in the past 80 years.according to a report.
The report A statement released Wednesday by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, which accused church officials of decades of cover-up, paints a damning picture of the archdiocese, which it is the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the country and spans much of Maryland.
Some parishes, schools and congregations “had more than one abuser at the same time“, according to the report, including St. Mark Parish in Catonsville, which allegedly had at least 11 abusers living and working there between 1964 and 2004.
“The staggering pervasiveness of the abuse itself underscores the culpability of the Church hierarchy,” the Maryland Attorney General’s report says.
“The sheer number of abusers and victims, the depravity of abusers’ behavior, and the frequency with which known abusers were given the opportunity to continue abusing children is staggering. More than 600 children are known to have been abused by the 156 people included in this report.but the number is likely to be much higher.”
In addition to this report, the state legislature passed a bill to end a statute of limitations on abuse-related civil suits, sending it to the governor.
Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown, who took office last January, published the report and posted it on his Twitter accountr.
Before a news conference Wednesday, Brown met with several victims to summarize the findings and thank them for coming forward.
“What we learned is that the incontrovertible story uncovered by this investigation is one of widespread, pernicious and persistent abuse by priests and other Archdiocese personnel,” Brown said during the press conference, according to the CBS chain.
“It is also a story of repeated cover-ups of that abuse by the Catholic Church,” the Maryland attorney general added in his report.
The report focuses primarily on the years before 2002, when a Boston Globe investigation into abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston led to an explosion of revelations across the country.
The nation’s Catholic bishops have, for the first time, agreed to reforms that include a lifetime ban from ministry for any priest who commits even a single incident of abuse.
Attorneys for the state asked a court for permission to publish the nearly 500-page document, identifying 156 priests and others associated with the church accused of abusing more than 600 victims over the past 80 yearsand Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Robert Taylor ruled in favor of the publication.
For his part, the Archbishop of Baltimore, William Lori, reported in another release that while the archdiocese has made great strides over the past three decades in addressing allegations of abuse, the report “covers a period in the archdiocese’s past when our response to allegations was woefully inadequate.”
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