BALTIMORE -- The more than 450-page redacted report on the sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore was made public Wednesday by the Maryland Attorney General's Office.
The report156 priests, deacons, Catholic teachers and seminarians within the Archdiocese accused of the "sexual abuse" and "physical torture" of more than 600 victims.
"We are in complete awe of the brave victims who came forward to share their tragic experiences with the commission, they join a huge network of survivors who are changing the world and protecting others from these atrocities," Maryland Survivors Network For Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said in a statement.
Our media partners with The Baltimore Banner has a timeline on events leading up to the release of the report.
Investigators with the Maryland Attorney General's Office completed the 456-page investigation and asked the courts in November for permission to release their findings to the public.
The Attorney General's Office started investigating the allegations in 2018.
In February, a Baltimore judge ordered the release of the redacted report, saying that "the need for disclosure outweighs the need for secrecy."
On Tuesday,of the report with those redactions.
The edits include the anonymization of 60 individuals referenced in the report by eliminating specific references, as well as redacting the names and identifying information of 37 more individuals.
"Today's report from the Maryland Attorney General is first and foremost a sad and painful reminder of the tremendous harm caused to innocent children and young people by some ministers of the Church," Baltimore Archbishop William Lori said. "The detailed accounts of abuse are shocking and soul searing. It is difficult for most to imagine that such evil acts could have actually occurred. For victim-survivors everywhere, they know the hard truth: These evil acts did occur."
"To all survivors, I offer my most earnest apology on behalf of the Archdiocese and pledge my continued solidarity and support for your healing. We hear you. We believe you and your courageous voices have made a difference. Through difficult, although deeply meaningful, meetings, I have experienced your brave witness, and the power of your words and testimony compel my personal conviction to ensure we do everything possible to prevent future incidents of abuse and promote healing for survivors."
"We also investigated efforts by leardership of the Catholic church to hide and conceal that sexual abuse, with hundreds of thousands of documents dating back to the 1940s produced by the Archdiocese."
The Maryland Attorney General's Office issued the report during Holy Week — considered the most sacred time of year in Christianity ahead of Easter Sunday — and said the number of victims is likely far higher.
"The staggering pervasiveness of the abuse itself underscores the culpability of the Church hierarchy," the report said. "The sheer number of abusers and victims, the depravity of the abusers' conduct, and the frequency with which known abusers were given the opportunity to continue preying upon children are astonishing."
What does the report say?
The report opens with a list of abusers - 146 named and 10 redacted.
The investigation learned that abusers picked "children who were especially isolated or vulnerable because of shyness, lack of confidence, or problems at home, and they presented themselves as protectors...Abusers preyed upon the children most devoted to the church."
More than 600 children are known to have been abused by the 156 abusers in the report, "but the number is likely far higher," citing national stats on reporting sexual abuse.
The report details that St. Mark Parish in Catonsville had 11 abusers living and working there from 1964-2004, and the Church transferred known abusers after victims came forward.
The report reveals how the Archdiocese "repeatedly dismissed reports of abuse…failed to adequately investigate" and hid the abuse rather than protecting victims.
It lays additional blame on the judicial system and the press for helping the Church avoid accountability.
The Baltimore archdiocese says it has paid more than $13.2 million for care and compensation for 301 abuse victims since the 1980s, including $6.8 million toward 105 voluntary settlements.
The remainder of the report gives rather detailed narratives of each abuser, where they worked, etc.
Father Laurence Brett was one of six abusers at St. Patrick in Cumberland, but notably was a priest at Calvert Hall College.
There, he allegedly abused 20 boys after admitting to sexual abuse as early as 1964 and being sent to New Mexico for "treatment."
Only one person has been indicted as a result of the investigation's findings: Neil Adleberg, 74, who was arrested last year and charged with rape and other counts.
The case remains ongoing. Officials said he coached wrestling at a Catholic high school in the '70s, then returned to the role for the 2014-2015 school year. The alleged abuse occurred in 2013 and 2014 but the victim was not a student of the school, officials said.
Reaction to AG's release of report
Survivors, attorneys and advocates for the survivors have been.
"The AG report contains more names of abusers than have been released publicly by church officials," SNAP said. "We want Archbishop Lori to answer questions as to why his list is deficient and answer what was hidden from the public by church officials and why. Clearly, the AG has uncovered more information than MD church officials wanted to be made public."
Attorney General Brown said his office interviewed hundreds of survivors which then provoked more survivors to come forward.
He recently spoke with more survivors about the release of the report.
"I sincerely thank the survivors for their courage, their candor of sharing their long arduous, painful, difficult journey and stories, often at time when they were considered liars," Brown said. "I did not see child victims. I saw men and women who are survivors and telling their stories. I can't tell you how privileged we are in the Office of the Attorney General to walk side-by-side with them to reveal the full accounting of what happened within the Archdiocese."
Attorney General Brown said his mission is to expose those who committed the crimes and find justice for the survivors.
"Unfortunately, most of the abusers and concealed the wrongdoings are dead and no longer subject to be prosecuted," Brown said. "We hope to make public for the first time the enormous scope and scale or the abuse and concealment perpetrated by the Archdiocese of Baltimore."
SNAP continued to say this public release is a big step toward protecting more children from abuse.
"But it is equally critical that powerful figures who used their role to support abusers instead of protecting children are identified to the public and pointed out to the public, police and prosecutors for further investigation," SNAP said. "Children will be safer when the public is aware of who enabled these abusers, minimized the allegations against them, and covered up their abuse. Exposing alleged perpetrators or Catholic officials who committed or concealed child sex crimes is a necessary step for survivors and victims' families to obtain a level of justice and for society to become safer."
"We are relieved to know that the horrifying experiences of the survivors who spoke openly with investigators and who worried that their efforts would be in vain are now public. We believe disclosing the extent to which the Church went to shield information, and documenting the immense pain that the victims underwent as a result, will do much to ensure that these crimes never occur within the Catholic community in Maryland again."
Baltimore County Police spokesperson Joy Stewart is encouraging survivors to report abuse to the department.
"Detectives with the Baltimore County Police Department's Special Victims Unit are currently reviewing the report the Maryland Office of the Attorney General released today. All survivors of unreported abuse that occurred in Baltimore County are encouraged to contact the Baltimore County Police Department regardless of when it happened.
"A victim advocate is available to provide information, support and referrals to survivors and their families. As a law enforcement agency that follows national best practices, the Baltimore County Police Department has policies and procedures in place governing sexual assault investigations that are trauma-informed, victim-centered, and offender-focused. To contact a detective, clergy abuse survivors may call 410-887-2223."
The Attorney General's Office encourages victims of abuse in the Baltimore Catholic church to call 410-576-6312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
for more features.