Long-awaited permission to release an investigative report detailing allegations of sexual abuse made against more than 150 Catholic priests in Baltimore was granted Tuesday by a judge to the Maryland attorney general’s office.
As the magistrate reviews the Baltimore Archdiocese’s response, prosecutors officials declined to provide a timeline for when the publication would take place.
The report was completed last year by the Maryland attorney general’s office and has remained sealed ever since. It contains information obtained from church officials through grand jury subpoenas, proceedings that are confidential in Maryland.
Attorneys for the state have asked the court for permission to publish their findings, and Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Robert Taylor already ruled last month that a redacted version must be made public.
The next step was for Taylor to review a list of proposed wordings, which he just approved on Tuesday. Once the attorney general has done those redactions, his office can publish the report.
According to previous court documents, the nearly 500-page document identifies 158 priests accused of abusing more than 600 victims over the past 80 years.
The attorney general’s investigation began in 2019.
In his earlier ruling, Taylor said that publishing the report is in the interest of justice, in part because the “only form of justice that can now be available is a public reckoning.”
“The need for disclosure outweighs the need for secrecy,” Taylor wrote.
He also said that Maryland lawmakers should be able to consider the contents of the report during the current state legislative session, which ends April 10.
Lawmakers are currently considering whether to end the state’s statute of limitations for when civil lawsuits can be filed against institutions related to child sexual abuse. Victims of child sexual abuse in Maryland cannot sue after they have turned 38.
Many accused priests named in the report have previously been publicly identified by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
In a statement Tuesday, Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown said his office was pleased with the judge’s ruling.
“We will work to complete the court-ordered redactions and publish the report as quickly as possible,” he said.
VICTIMS PRAISE DECISION
- A judge’s ruling allowing an investigative report into clergy sexual abuse in Baltimore to be released is being applauded by a group of victims.
- David Lorenz, Maryland director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Judge Robert Taylor’s decision is validating the victims.
- “We are going to see a report that not only validates it, but gives you a kind of microphone that says, yes, this really happened to these people,” Lorenz said.