Sexual abuse survivors demand answers in Baltimore Catholic Church investigation
Survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic Church leaders gathered outside the office of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, calling for the release of preliminary findings from an investigation into the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Teresa Lancaster said she was interviewed four years ago when the investigation was launched. She told investigators she was abused at Archbishop Keough Secondary School, but has yet to hear back.
“It’s hard not to see action,” she said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “I would like to hear something, please.”
Jean Wehner, who says she was also abused while a student at Archbishop Keough High School, said that without any updates in the past four years, survivors who spoke with investigators find themselves “in an old place. familiar where silence turns to fear. ”
“The fear is that we’ve leaked the secret and the disclosure will harm us and our loved ones, or we won’t be believed, or we’ve been tricked,” she told the Baltimore Sun.
The school, which merged with Seton High School and was renamed Seton Keough in 1988, closed in June 2017.
Lancaster and Wehner both starred in “The Keepers,” a popular Netflix docuseries released in 2017 that explored the 1969 murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik and its alleged connection to her knowledge of child sexual abuse within the church.
Frosh, who is not running for office, is expected to leave office in January 2023 and survivors are urging him to share the findings before his term ends.
A spokesperson for Maryland Attorney General’s Office Brian Frosh told ABC News in a statement Wednesday that while the AG’s office cannot comment on ongoing investigations, it can confirm that it has conducted hundreds of interviews and reviewed thousands of documents.
“We have made significant progress in the investigation and expect to make an announcement in the coming months,” the spokesperson said.
The Baltimore child abuse investigation became public in 2018 after Archbishop William E. Lori informed priests and deacons that the archdiocese had cooperated with the AG’s office in an “investigation on records related to child sexual abuse,” according to a statement released by Lori in September of that year.
Lori added, “Based on my conversations with people across the Archdiocese…it is clear that we are a Church in crisis and this crisis is a crisis of trust. It is my hope and prayer that this Independent review and other acts of transparency from the Archdiocese will bring greater confidence in the Church among those who are rightly skeptical of the Church’s handling of allegations of abuse.”
The Maryland investigation became public after a two-year investigation in Pennsylvania ended with a bombshell grand jury report released in August 2018 accusing hundreds of Roman Catholic priests of molesting children.
So far, no charges have been announced in Maryland.
Members of the “Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests” (SNAP), who joined Lancaster and Wehner at the rally on Tuesday, called on the AG to hold abusers accountable, while Maryland SNAP Director David Lorenz said wondered why the Maryland investigation had taken so long. .
“We have abusers walking the streets of Maryland, preying on the children of Maryland, and the [Office of the Attorney General] sits on this information. Why so?” Lorenz said, according to ABC affiliate station WMAR in Baltimore.