July 20, 2024

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More than 150 priests accused of pedophile over 600 children in Maryland since 2002

More than 150 priests accused of pedophile over 600 children in Maryland since 2002

More than 150 Catholic priests have been accused of “brutal and repeated” pedophile acts on at least 600 children in Maryland from 1940 to 2002.

According to a report by the prosecutor of this northeastern state, priests and staff of this archdiocese “repeatedly committed acts of cruelty against the most vulnerable children in their community, while archdiocese leaders turned a blind eye”.

This document is about the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which is closest to the capital Washington. That’s the result of an investigation that opened in 2018, following a shock trial in Pennsylvania, as in many other states.

About 156 church members have been identified there, suspected of committing pedophile acts on more than 600 children. But the actual number of their victims is “undoubtedly much higher,” officials note, recalling that only a small proportion of rapes are reported.

They insist on the “complicity” of the ecclesiastical hierarchy that “refused to take into account allegations of sexual violence against children”.

According to the prosecutor’s office, it was “impossible to deny” that the church was content to move those involved, who would sometimes return to working positions near children.

“The archbishop was more concerned with avoiding scandal or negative publicity than protecting the children.”

This report, though official, is not an indictment.

In 2018, an investigation by the Pennsylvania State Attorney’s Office found that more than 300 “predatory priests” committed pedophile acts on at least 1,000 children and were shut down by the Catholic Church.

The report sent shock waves across the United States, and several states discovered thousands of other victims.

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For its own investigation, the Maryland attorney general’s office relied on hundreds of thousands of documents and testimony from victims and witnesses.

Most of those involved have been named, but most of them are dead, so they cannot be prosecuted.

After the report was released, Archbishop William Lowry offered his “deepest apologies” to the victims, admitting in a statement that these “horrific acts (happened)”.

He promised that this “reprehensible period” in the archdiocese’s history “will not be covered up or forgotten.” Since the end of the 1990s “radical changes” have been decided to “put an end to this cruelty”, he promised.