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'Torturous, terrorizing, depraved abuse': AG report accuses 156 Catholic priests of sexually abusing over 600 children, number is 'likely far higher'

'Torturous, terrorizing, depraved abuse': AG report accuses 156 Catholic priests of sexually abusing over 600 children, number is 'likely far higher'

Maryland's top prosecutor released a new report accusing more than 150 Catholic priests and others associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore of sexually abusing over 600 children, but the number is "likely far higher."

The 463-page report declared, "As the case descriptions in this report make clear, from the 1940s through 2002, over a hundred priests and other Archdiocese personnel engaged in horrific and repeated abuse of the most vulnerable children in their communities while Archdiocese leadership looked the other way."

"Hundreds of thousands of documents dating back to the 1940s were produced in response to the subpoenas, including treatment reports, personnel records, transfer reports, and policies and procedures," the report stated.

"Over 600 children are known to have been abused by the 156 people included in this report, but the number is likely far higher," the report alleged.

The report claimed that child sexual abuse was carried out by clergy, seminarians, deacons, and employees of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

"Today, certainly in Maryland, is a day of reckoning and a day of accounting," Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday. "This is a full accounting. There are details of repeated torturous, terrorizing, depraved abuse."

Victims provided investigators with detailed and graphic allegations of sexual and physical abuse. There are accusations of child rape, child pornography, and threats of violence. Alleged victims of sexual abuse by church members were as young as 5 years old.

Father Joseph Maskell, who served as a Catholic high school counselor and chaplain, allegedly sexually abused at least 39 victims, the report found.

Father Robert Newman confessed to more than 100 acts of sex abuse against a dozen boys ages 9 to 14.

Father Eugene McGuire is accused of molesting two sisters "two to three times a week." One of the girls was 7 years old.

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office claimed, "Abusers often singled out children who were especially isolated or vulnerable because of shyness, lack of confidence, or problems at home, and they presented themselves as protectors and friends of the children and their families," adding that the Catholic priests "preyed upon the children most devoted to the church."

The abusers reportedly groomed the children with gifts and special attention. The report detailed accusations of Catholic priests plying children with alcohol and marijuana.

Some of the Catholic priests allegedly told their victims that the sexual abuse was "God's will." Priests reportedly told their victims that their families would go to hell if they divulged the sexual assaults to anyone. The abusers also purportedly told the children that reporting them would be futile because no one would doubt the word of a priest.

Some of the Catholic clergy allegedly attempted to dismiss the sexual abuse as "rough-housing," according to the four-year investigation.

The report claimed that the Archdiocese of Baltimore "repeatedly dismissed reports of abuse" and "failed to adequately investigate complaints." Instead, the Archdiocese of Baltimore reportedly "transferred known abusers to other positions of equal authority and access to children."

The report noted that there were 11 alleged child abusers who lived and worked at the St. Mark Parish in Catonsville from 1964 to 2004.

"Church documents reveal with disturbing clarity that the Archdiocese was more concerned with avoiding scandal and negative publicity than it was with protecting children," the report asserted.

"They focused not on protecting victims or stopping the abuse, but rather on ensuring at all costs that the abuse be kept hidden," the report said of the church cover-up. "The costs and consequences of avoiding scandal were borne by the victimized children."

The report added, "The staggering pervasiveness of the abuse itself underscores the culpability of the Church hierarchy. The sheer number of abusers and victims, the depravity of the abusers’ conduct, and the frequency with which known abusers were given the opportunity to continue preying upon children are astonishing."

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori reacted to the sex scandal accusations by saying, "The detailed accounts of abuse are shocking and soul-searing. It is difficult for most to imagine that such evil acts could have actually occurred. For victim-survivors everywhere, they know the hard truth: These evil acts did occur."

He said the child sex abuse within the church was a "reprehensible time in the history of this Archdiocese, a time that will not be covered up, ignored, or forgotten."

Lori stressed that it was "important that we shine God’s light on these lived accounts of abuse."

Lori continued, "To all survivors, I offer my most earnest apology on behalf of the Archdiocese and pledge my continued solidarity and support for your healing. We hear you. We believe you and your courageous voices have made a difference."

Lori promised that the Archdiocese would "do everything possible to prevent future incidents of abuse and promote healing for survivors" and vowed to permanently remove anyone in the ministry credibly accused of child sex crimes.

The attorney general said that most of the alleged abusers are dead and no longer subject to prosecution.

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown said, "While it may be too late for the survivors to see criminal justice served, we hope that exposing the Archdiocese’s transgressions to the fullest extent possible will bring some measure of accountability and perhaps encourage others to come forward."

The Archdiocese of Baltimore said it had paid $13.2 million to 301 victims of abuse since the 1980s.

Maryland investigation uncovers sexual abuse of 600-plus children by Catholic Churchwww.youtube.com

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