Watch CBS News

Archdiocese of Baltimore sexual abuse case assigned new judge

CBS News Live
CBS News Baltimore Live

BALTIMORE - A case regarding the release of a report into the sexual abuse by clergy and priests in the Archdiocese of Baltimore will have a new judge, according to our media partner The Baltimore Banner.

The Banner reports Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert K. Taylor will now oversee the proceedings in the fight to release the 456-page report that details the sexual abuse of nearly 600 children by 158 clergy and Catholic priests in Baltimore.

The report, a product of a four-year investigation by the attorney general's official, reveals allegations dating back decades.

According to The Baltimore Banner's report, some survivors of sexual abuse in the archdiocese had raised concerns about the previous judge assigned to the case, Anthony Vittoria. 

Julie Scharper discusses calls to release a report detailing sexual abuse allegations in the Archdio 02:55

His biography lists him as a parishioner of the Catholic Community of South Baltimore. 

According to the Banner, a now-shuttered school associated with that church — the Catholic Community Middle School — was the scene of some of the most notorious abuse cases associated with the archdiocese. John Merzbacher, a lay teacher who worked there in the 1970s, is serving four life sentences for the repeated rape of a student. More than a dozen other students had also accused Merzbacher of raping and sexually assaulting them, but their cases never went to trial.

The change in judge was "part of the normal management of the court," judiciary spokesman Bradley Tanner said in an email. "This was expected many months prior to the filing of the case," Tanner said.

The Maryland State Attorney General filed a motion seeking approval from the Circuit Court of Baltimore City to release its 456-page report on abuse in the diocese to the public.

After the AG filed his motion, the Archdiocese of Baltimore issued a statement saying it would not oppose the report's release.

The Attorney General's Office said the report summarizes the sexual abuse and physical torture perpetrated by all 158 of the identified priests who allegedly carried out sexual abuse on both boys and girls ranging in age from preschool to young adulthood. 

However, an anonymous group named in the report but not accused filed an appeal for the report not to be released.

Lawyers featured in the 2017 documentary, "The Keepers," also filed a motion recently in Baltimore Circuit Court to disclose the state's investigation, along with other sexual abuse survivors.  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.