High-ranking Catholic officials' names withheld from latest Maryland AG report after group appeals

Lee O. Sanderlin, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Religious News

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Attorney General’s Office released a newer, less-redacted version Tuesday of its report on the history of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, but some key names remain hidden as people are appealing their inclusion.

The names of five high-ranking Catholic officials who helped enable and cover-up abuse, according to the report, are still redacted along with the name of one alleged abuser.

Their names, which The Baltimore Sun previously verified and published, were set to be included in this most recent version of the report but are being withheld because the six are appealing the court’s decision to release them. Another alleged abuser’s name is being withheld because the attorney general’s office was unable to contact him — The Sun also was able to identify him.

The attorney general’s report, released in April, details how at least 156 clergy and laypersons abused more than 600 children and young adults throughout the 20th century. The report also shows the extent the church worked to cover-up the abuses.

While two alleged abusers’ names remain redacted in the latest public version of the report, eight names of abusers were not redacted as they were before. The release of those names confirms reporting by The Sun and other news organizations about the abusers’ identities.

Neither the individuals whose names remain shielded nor those whose names are now public have been criminally charged.


This interim version of the report is the latest development in the ongoing fallout from the revelations of the decades of abuse. Earlier this month, The Sun revealed that archdiocesan officials were considering filing for bankruptcy to insulate the church from the financial consequences of what is expected to be several new lawsuits from abuse survivors. Maryland lawmakers made it easier this year to sue institutions who employed abusers, but the law is expected to be challenged in court.

At the center of the monthslong legal battle over whether blacked-out names in the report about the archdiocese should be made public were 15 people: 10 accused abusers and the five officials. Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert Taylor ruled in August that the attorney general could release 43 of the 46 blacked-out names, including the five officials and 10 alleged abusers.

All court filings and hearings surrounding the decision whether to release the report and to un-redact names have been hidden from the public by order of Baltimore judges because the state attorney general’s initial investigation relied on grand jury materials, which are secret under Maryland law and require a court order to make public. It’s not clear whether the appeals will happen in open court; records of previous hearings and filings in the matter remain sealed.

Should the appeals be unsuccessful, the attorney general could release those names in the future, the office said in a news release.


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