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Judge lifts most redactions in report on sex abuse within Archdiocese of Baltimore

Judge lifts most redactions in report on sex abuse within Archdiocese of Baltimore
Judge lifts most redactions in report on sex abuse within Archdiocese of Baltimore 02:39

BALTIMORE -- A Baltimore judge on Tuesday ordered that redactions be lifted for all but three of the names blacked out from a report on the history of sex abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

The Maryland Attorney General released the 456-page investigation that details 158 clergy, teachers, seminarians and deacons within the Archdiocese of Baltimore allegedly assault more than 600 children going back to the 1940s.  

When the report was initially released in April, the names of ten alleged abusers who had not been publicly accused of child abuse were redacted.  

Also redacted, were the names of five ranking officials of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.  

The Maryland Attorney General's Office said those five officials "had extensive participation in the Archdiocese's handling of abuser clergy and reports of child abuse."

"The court's order enables my office to continue to lift the veil of secrecy over decades of horrifying abuse suffered by the survivors," Attorney General Brown said in a statement Tuesday. 

The names of two dozen individuals identified by name, who were not accused of child sexual abuse, were also redacted in the April report. 

"People in the pews will now see that, in fact, these guys were as complicit in these crimes as the abusers," said David Lorenz, Maryland Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert K. Taylor also ordered the attorney general's office may release a copy of the report with the redactions lifted after Sept. 26.

The Attorney General's Office says the report is not a finding of guilt.  "The fact that a person is named in the Report, or that a person's name was redacted, does not necessarily mean that they are accused of a crime," the OAG's statement said. 

The Archdiocese of Baltimore released a statement in response to the Baltimore City Circuit Court's opinion.  

"The Archdiocese has read the Baltimore City Circuit Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order permitting the Attorney General to release additional names in its report on child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Our foremost thought remains our concern and prayers for survivors of child sexual abuse," the statement reads.  "Since the start of the investigation by the Maryland Office of Attorney General into child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and throughout the entirety of the ensuing legal process, the Archdiocese offered its full cooperation and support."

Lorenz, who heads the group of abuse victims, said un-redacting names will take further burden off survivors.

"When that name gets released and seen in public, it helps those individuals to come forward and seek help," Lorenz said.

Judge Taylor said naming names is crucial toward knowing the scope of the report and called the abuse a "slow-motion crisis."

"I might disagree with the 'slow motion," Lorenz said. "This was right in their face."

Judge Taylor also wrote publicizing more names will help the public understand "this did not happen because of anything the 'archdiocese' did or did not do. It happened because of the choices made by specific individuals at specific times."

"I could not disagree with him more," Lorenz said. "The church policy was to protect the church and not the children."

 Those redacted in the report will have opportunities to make their case to the court to remain unnamed.

One of those identified in the original report, the judge wrote, reports receiving death threats online for simply being affiliated with the archdiocese.     

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