Baltimore victims of the sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church hope the release of a grand jury report in Pennsylvania this week will lead to action in Maryland.
The report revealed that an estimated 300 Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania molested more than 1,000 children — and possibly many more — since the 1940s, and senior church officials covered it up for years. Read the full report here.
The story of dozens of women who said they were abused at Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore in the late 1960s and early 1970s played out on the hit Netflix docudrama “The Keepers.”
Many of those women are calling for Maryland’s attorney general to take action similar to what was done in Pennsylvania.
“I was overjoyed,” said Teresa Lancaster. “Watching what happened in Pennsylvania is a very big step in the right direction to get full disclosure.”
Lancaster said her abuse at Archbishop Keough High School began in 1970, when the Rev. Joseph Maskell was the school’s chaplain.
“I went to see Father Maskell to get help and some counseling with some problems at home, and I experienced abuse on the very first day, and it continued until graduation, for two years, for my junior year and my senior year,” Lancaster said.
In 1994, Lancaster filed a lawsuit against Maskell and others over the alleged abuse. The case did not go forward because of the statute of limitations.
In 2011, Lancaster went through mediation with the archdiocese, which paid her $40,000.
Maryland has extended the statute of limitations law to age 38, but Lancaster said it’s worthless.
“(The church) fought to put the gross negligence clause in the statute of limitation, which is unattainable in the state of Maryland, so we really need to rewrite the law,” Lancaster said.
The Pennsylvania grand jury accused the late Cardinal William Keeler of criminal inaction for his part in the cover-up while he served as bishop there.
Now, Baltimore’s archbishop said the new school the archdiocese is building in west Baltimore will no longer bear Keeler’s name. Lancaster is delighted.
“We would like to see him removed from the basilica, as well. He’s not saint-worthy. He’s not an honorable man,” Lancaster said.
Other survivors of abuse at Archbishop Keough High School have written letters and emails and created a petition to get Maryland’s attorney general to convene a grand jury to investigate the child abuse and cover-ups by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office acknowledged it has received emails calling for an investigation into the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The Associated Press reported that The Vatican has called the sex abuse described in the grand jury report in Pennsylvania “criminal and morally reprehensible.”