WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – This week, the Maryland attorney general released the findings of a four-year investigation into sexual abuse at the hands of catholic priests and others within the archdiocese of Baltimore.
While the investigation found there were hundreds of victims, investigators believe many other survivors — some of whom now live in other states — have yet to come forward.
Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown says the investigation documented abuse of at least 600 children by priests, deacons and other leaders within the Baltimore archdiocese from the 1940s through the early 2000s.
“It was tormenting, painful, in some ways sadistic,” Brown said. “Typically there are many more who have not come out and spoken up and made a claim, then there are who have.”
Through a grand jury subpoena, the Maryland attorney general’s office obtained hundreds of thousands of records from the archdiocese – revealing the church knew about the abuse and systematically covered it up.
Shaun Dougherty — board president of the Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests — says the report is especially important for survivors.
“I am a victim myself and nothing that I hear about this church is surprising. It is unfortunate, it’s sad,” Dougherty said. “Whose relatives didn’t believe them, the police didn’t believe them, this is validation.”
But he says the problems haven’t gone away and claims “young priests are getting arrested for molesting children.”
Because of statutes of limitations under old criminal codes, most past crimes won’t be prosecuted, but the names of newly identified abusers could be released in the future.
Maryland also passed a new law to allow survivors to sue.
The Maryland attorney general’s office is also investigating the archdiocese of Washington D.C. and of Wilmington, Delaware — asking for survivors to contact the attorney general’s office.