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Baltimore Archdiocese Sexual Abuse Attorneys

Fierce Counsel for Maryland Clergy Abuse Lawsuits

At Levy Konigsberg, our sexual abuse litigation team is highly awarded and recognized for incredible work to stand up for the rights of the sexually abused, including in challenging legal battles against religious institutions like the Baltimore Archdiocese in Maryland. With Attorney-Partner Anna Kull spearheading many of our litigated sexual abuse cases, there is no lawsuit too complex or opponent too large for us. If you were sexually abused by a member of the Baltimore Catholic Archdiocese, then you should explore your legal options for justice and compensation now. Even if sexual abuse occurred decades ago when you were a child, the recently-signed Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023, an important legislative update, allows you to start a civil claim.

Learn more about your rights during a free, confidential consultation with our Baltimore Archdiocese sexual abuse lawyers from Levy Konigsberg.

Sexual Abuse Accusations Against the Baltimore Archdiocese

A nearly-500-page report was recently released to the public by the Maryland Attorney General. It details decades of sexual abuse allegations, reports, and complaints within the Baltimore Archdiocese against hundreds of children and young adults. More than 150 Catholic priests and others associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore sexually abused over 600 children and often escaped accountability. Dozens of priests and church members are implicated or directly named in the report.

As has been seen in many other similar cases involving religious groups, the report revealed the scope of abuse spanning 80 years and accused church leaders of decades of coverups. Baltimore Archdiocese and its leadership seem to have taken deliberate steps to silence victims and keep information about the sexual abuse reports hidden for years. This deliberate attempt to harbor sexual abusers and child sexual predators while simultaneously putting more children in danger of abuse can make the Baltimore Archdiocese liable for the resulting harm and losses.

Baltimore Archdiocese Publicly Lists Predator Priests

*Update September 2023: More Members of Archdiocese of Baltimore released on Church Sex Abuse Report

The unredacted report exposing child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore has been unveiled to the public by the Maryland Attorney General's Office. This release reveals an additional eight names implicated in the abuse, with a suggestion that more may be disclosed following an appeals process. Notably, the report still conceals the identities of five high-ranking church officials accused of enabling and concealing these heinous acts. This move comes after a Baltimore judge's recent order to lift redactions from all but three names initially withheld in a report addressing decades of sexual abuse within the Archdiocese. David Lorenz, Director of the Maryland Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, remarked that this disclosure underscores the complicity of these individuals in the crimes. The comprehensive 456-page investigation catalogues 158 clergy, teachers, seminarians, and deacons allegedly involved in the abuse of over 600 children dating back to the 1940s, shedding light on a dark chapter in the church's history.

*Update June 2023: Baltimore Archdiocese Adds Dozens of Predator Priests to Public List*

In June 2023, the Archdiocese of Baltimore added 42 names to its public list of priests who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. The update is the largest expansion to date since the Archdiocese began publishing names of predator priests in 2002.

As noted in an announcement from the Archdiocese, the newly added names include clergy members who were credibly accused of child sexual abuse after the release of the initial list in 2002, as well as clergy were identified publicly in connection with an allegation, such as in a criminal case.

The update also includes names added under the Archdiocese’s new policy to name clergy accused after death, provided that they have been accused of sexual abuse by more than one victim, a single allegation of sexual abuse could be corroborated through external information, or if the clergy member’s name was already published elsewhere. A total of 33 priests included in the expanded list are deceased.

Many of the newly added priests were included in the Maryland Attorney General’s landmark report profiling the dark legacy of sexual abuse within the Baltimore Archdiocese and the Church’s systemic coverup efforts that enabled predator priests to abuse children and adults for decades.

However, three of the 42 newly named clergy members were not part of the AG’s report. They include Phillip Linden, who served at Francis Xavier in East Baltimore in the early 1970s, Michael Miller, who worked at Archbishop Curley High School from 1994-1995 & 2003-2006, and Joseph O'Meara, who served at St. Edward (Baltimore) from 1970 to 1979 (and 1993), St. Cecilia (Baltimore) in 1993, and St. Rose of Lima (Baltimore) from 1995 to 2009, among other Maryland parishes dating back to the 1960s.

You can find the full list of 42 priests added by the Baltimore Archdiocese here.

Brief History of Baltimore Archdiocese Sexual Abuse

Based on what has been uncovered by the report, this is a brief and incomplete history of child sexual abuse within the Baltimore Archdiocese:

  • 1940s: The earliest confirmed reports of child sexual abuse within the Baltimore Archdiocese, which covers Baltimore City and nine counties, begin in the ‘40s.
  • 1958: Father Gerald Tragesser is accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl. Archbishop Francis Keough appears to have clandestinely resolved the matter in the Baltimore Circuit Court to keep the information away from the public and other churchgoers.
  • 1964: Father Lawrence Brett admits to sexually abusing a boy. In response to his admission, the Catholic Church sent him to New Mexico for “treatment,” but he continued to sexually assault young boys while there. Ultimately, he was transferred to Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore, where he abused at least another 20 children.
  • 1987: Father John Joseph Mike, who served in multiple Baltimore Archdiocese parishes, pleads guilty to abusing a boy. The plea deal allows him to not admit to sexual abuse, but the report details that he sexually assaulted at least seven young boys across many years.
  • 1987: Deacon Leo O’Hara admits to having molested more than 100 children since 1953 by abusing his position of authority within the Baltimore Archdiocese.
  • 1993: Father James Dowdy is accused of sexually abusing a young boy for at least eight years. The Baltimore Archdiocese places him on administrative leave and agrees to pay for ongoing behavioral rehabilitative therapy. The benefits paid to Father Dowdy are believed to cost the Church nearly $160,000 but only paid less than $9,000 to the victim who spoke up about the abuse.
  • 2002: A large docket of information about sexual abuse cases filed against the Baltimore Archdiocese is made public. It includes information about dozens of priests who committed sexually abusive acts against children for decades, and reveals that the religious group had paid $5.6 million to victims so far.

What Is Considered Clergy Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse manifests in various ways. Instances of clergy sexual abuse committed by Catholic Church members across Maryland may include:

  • Attempted rape
  • Rape – encompassing instances of serial and gang rape
  • Sodomy
  • Any indecent actions, including sexual penetration, stimulation, and humiliation
  • Coercion for sexual acts
  • Sexual harassment
  • Unauthorized recording of sexual activities, including video, photos, or recordings of humiliating or debasing sexual conduct
  • Distributing pornographic content to minors
  • Making sexual remarks or propositions

Types of Church Members Abusers Targeted

Typically, children who were targeted by abusers were the ones engaged in church activities, especially on weekends and evenings. Many of these children were entrusted to the care of priests or clergy members by their parents. Some of these church activities included:

  • Altar Boys
  • Choir Members
  • Participants in the Church Youth Organization
  • Members of Boy Scout troops
  • Volunteers in the rectory (handling evening or weekend calls)

Statute of Limitations on Child Sex Abuse Cases in Maryland

In response to the Baltimore Archdiocese sexual abuse report, Maryland legislators pushed to pass the Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 to address the abuse which spanned more than 80 years. This act, signed into law by Governor Wes Moore in April 2023, removed the statute of limitations on child sex abuse lawsuits filed in civil courts. In other words, people who were sexually abused by a Baltimore Catholic Archdiocese member even many years ago can still file a civil claim today as long as the abuse occurred when the victim was a child.

What Damages Can Plaintiffs Demand?

Typically, sexual abuse lawsuits filed against large organizations like the Baltimore Archdiocese will seek compensatory damages for the plaintiffs. Compensatory damages are used to provide relief for financial losses, physical injury, pain, suffering, and emotional traumatization suffered due to the defendant. The exact amount owed to a plaintiff will vary from case to case because compensatory damages are based on unique losses and harm.

Two important notes about the damages owed to Baltimore Archdiocese sexual abuse lawsuit plaintiffs:

  • Under the Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023, non-economic damages against a private institution can be capped at $1.5 million.
  • Economic or punitive damages awarded through a Maryland Child Victims Act lawsuit cannot be capped.

Get a Free, Confidential Consultation

If you were sexually abused by a member of the Baltimore Catholic Archdiocese, then now is the time to speak up and demand justice. Even if the sexual abuse occurred when you were a child, many years ago, you should talk to Levy Konigsberg right away. The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 could let you start a claim, despite any previous statutes of limitations.

Seek justice now. Our Baltimore Archdiocese sexual abuse attorneys are here to protect and empower you. Call (301) 450-8144 to get a free, confidential consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q:What is the Baltimore Archdiocese Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

    A:The Baltimore Archdiocese Sexual Abuse Lawsuit refers to a series of lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese of Baltimore alleging sexual abuse by clergy members. The lawsuits are filed by survivors of abuse and seek to hold the Archdiocese accountable for the abuse that occurred.

  • Q:Who can file a lawsuit against the Baltimore Archdiocese?

    A:Survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members who were affiliated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore may be able to file a lawsuit against the Archdiocese. Each case is unique, so it's important to speak with an attorney to determine your legal options.

  • Q:What compensation can survivors of Baltimore Archdiocese sexual abuse seek?

    A:Survivors of sexual abuse may be able to seek compensation for damages related to their abuse, such as medical expenses, therapy costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, survivors may also be able to seek punitive damages.

  • Q:How can I file a lawsuit against the Baltimore Archdiocese?

    A:If you are a survivor of sexual abuse by a clergy member affiliated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore, you may be able to file a lawsuit. It's important to speak with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help you understand your options.

  • Q:What is the statute of limitations for filing a Baltimore Archdiocese lawsuit?

    A:The Maryland Child Victims Act allows child sex abuse lawsuits to be filed for a limited time, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. It is important to act now before this limited time to file claims expires.

  • Q:Can I file a Baltimore Archdiocese lawsuit if the abuse occurred many years ago?

    A:Yes, but only for a limited time based on a new law called the Maryland Child Victims Act. It is important to speak with an attorney now to determine your legal options.

  • Q:How can an attorney help me with my case?

    A:An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal rights, guide you through the legal process, and advocate on your behalf. They can also help you gather evidence, build a strong case, and negotiate with the Baltimore Archdiocese to reach a fair settlement.

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