Baltimore archdiocese funds attorneys trying to seal clergy abuse report

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The Archdiocese of Baltimore confirmed Tuesday that it’s serving to pay the authorized bills of an nameless group of individuals seeking to seal a report by the Maryland Legal professional Basic’s Workplace on clergy sexual abuse of minors.

Christian Kendzierski, an archdiocese spokesman, reiterated that the church just isn’t looking for to suppress a 456-page report by the workplace of Legal professional Basic Brian E. Frosh. However, Kendzierski mentioned, the church has unspecified obligations to a bunch of people who’re named within the legal professional normal’s report however usually are not accused of sexual abuse and who’ve argued that their aspect ought to be heard earlier than the report is made public.

“We said final week we’re supporting a number of the people,” Kendzierski mentioned, referring to a prolonged assertion the archdiocese issued Nov. 22. In it, the archdiocese mentioned it “might” be paying a number of the authorized charges. The Baltimore Solar first confirmed Monday that the archdiocese was footing a number of the invoice.

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The report, according to a court filing earlier this month, adopted a virtually four-year investigation and tallied greater than 600 younger victims and 158 abusive monks over 80 years within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Forty-three of these monks beforehand had not been recognized in public.

Dioceses’ methods of organizing such lists fluctuate. Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori mentioned the archdiocese’s personal listing of 152 accused clergy “doesn’t embody the names of monks or brothers who died earlier than a single accusation of kid abuse was acquired, except the allegation could possibly be corroborated by a 3rd occasion or except a second allegation was made towards the identical deceased cleric.”

The group of people looking for to seal the report — represented by attorneys William J. Murphy and Gregg L. Bernstein — have additionally requested the Circuit Court docket for Baltimore Metropolis to air their issues and reveal their identities solely in closed proceedings.

Frosh’s workplace advised that the church’s monetary backing of the litigants was extra self-serving than the archdiocese was letting on.

“It’s clear that they’re paying to oppose the discharge of the report,” spokeswoman Raquel Coombs mentioned.

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The archdiocese has cooperated with Frosh’s workplace since January 2019, turning over greater than 100,000 pages of paperwork. Earlier this month, Frosh went to courtroom looking for permission to launch a public report on the findings of his investigation, which relies on confidential grand jury proceedings.

Bernstein, who didn’t instantly return cellphone calls looking for remark, has labored with Lori and different native clergy prior to now.

In 2002, Bernstein represented a former Catholic priest “who confronted claims of wrongdoing after admitting a decade earlier to sexually abusing six kids.”

Secret Vatican report details sexual and financial abuses by West Virginia bishop

In 2018, he led a workforce picked by Lori to research Michael J. Bransfield, a former West Virginia bishop who used his place to have interaction in sexual and monetary abuses. The investigation found that Bransfield gave tons of of hundreds of {dollars} to fellow clergymen, amongst them Lori, and the West Virginia diocese reimbursed him to cowl the items.

Bernstein’s workforce eliminated Lori’s identify from the report at his request. The archbishop said he would return the cash Bransfield gave him and, he requested that or not it’s donated to Catholic Charities.

Earlier this month, Lori was elected by his fellow bishops to be vice chairman of the U.S. Convention of Catholic Bishops for the subsequent three years.

Cate Brown contributed to this report.

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