Accounts of predatory priests and childhood sexual abuse scandals within the Catholic Church have hurt many populations and continue to affect those in the mid-Atlantic region. In August 2018, a 1,000-page grand jury report issued after a two-year investigation revealed sexual abuse of children across dioceses in Pennsylvania, and cover-ups from the Vatican. Encouraged by the grand jury report, other states have begun similar reviews of church conduct in their dioceses.
In Maryland, progress has taken place following the September 2018 launch of the Attorney Generals’ involvement to pinpoint sexual abuse by clergy. To date, the state’s office has begun a review of over 50,000 internal files released by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and a list of 30 credibly accused priests from the Maryland Provinces Jesuits. Awareness of wide-spread sexual abuse has also resulted in the creation of The Office of the Attorney General Child Sex Abuse Hotline for Maryland residents. This hotline is a tool for victims to report knowledge of abuse and can be reached at 410-576-6312 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Pennsylvania, the Catholic Church started the Survivors’ Compensation Program to aid recovery from the 300 predatory priests named in the grand jury report. While not a perfect solution, the church offered opportunities for victims is helpful as legal resolve is sometimes difficult to achieve. Following the state-mandated timeline is the main problem in sexual abuse cases. This Statute of Limitations allows abuse cases to be filed only a few years after sexual abuse happened. As such, many victims of childhood sexual abuse find their Statute of Limitations has expired once they are ready to take legal action. Further, while timeline reform for sexual assault cases is under discussion in many states, it is not yet a reality for all victims.
The question remains if Maryland state prosecutors will institute criminal actions against abusers. It is also uncertain if the Catholic Church will use a similar compensatory program as seen in Pennsylvania. However, the repercussions of the two-year grand jury report have prompted needed investigation around the country. And as victims bravely speak out in hopes of stopping the culture of pedophiles within the Catholic Church, justice seems inevitable.
If a person of power in the Catholic Church has abused you or a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation. Our trusted sexual misconduct attorneys at The Yost Legal Group are available to help hold those in clergy positions responsible for their shocking behavior. Call 1-800-YOST-LAW for a free and confidential discussion about your options for a sexual abuse claim against the Catholic Church.