Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown said he will release a redacted version of a long-awaited 456-page grand jury report that details decades of sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore on Wednesday after privately meeting with survivors in the morning.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert K. Taylor Jr. on Tuesday approved the release of the report “as the Office of the Attorney General shall see fit.” The attorney general’s office will post the document on its website at 1 p.m., according to an email sent to survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
Archbishop William Lori posted a letter and a video on the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s website calling on Catholics to pray for survivors as Holy Week begins.
“More than anything, in this moment, though, I want to pause to recognize and validate that the vile and horrifying abuse that is the subject of the Attorney General’s investigation represents a grave betrayal, and that it has had devastating consequences for victim-survivors,” Lori said.
Lori apologized for the abuse and asked that “the faithful accept this acknowledgment of the wrong that was done, my remorse for the past failings and an unwavering pledge to build upon the work of the past three decades to ensure no one is ever again harmed by a representative of the Church.”
In 2019, the Maryland Office of the Attorney General launched an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore and its response.
The move came after similar investigations in other states. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office in 2018 released an almost 900-page investigating grand jury report into six out of the eight dioceses in the state that identified more than 300 so-called “predator priests.”
Prosecutors filed a motion to unseal the report called “Clergy Abuse in Maryland” in 2022. The investigation identified 158 priests — many of whom were previously known — accused of “sexual abuse” and “physical torture” of more than 600 people in the last 80 years.
Earlier this year, Taylor approved the release of a redacted version of the report, writing that “the need for disclosure outweighs the need for secrecy.”
“Keeping this report from the public is an injustice,” Taylor said. “The only form of justice that may now be available is a public reckoning.”
But it’s unclear, at least for now, how much information in the report will be hidden from view.
The attorney general’s office agreed to rephrase the report to remove the names, titles and other identifying information of 60 people.
Meanwhile, Taylor instructed prosecutors to black out the names of an additional 37 people and notify them of their inclusion in the document. They will have the opportunity to review parts of the report about themselves and respond in court.
The investigation resulted in one indictment, and the attorney general’s office reported that law enforcement is not pursuing additional criminal charges.
The former head wrestling coach of Mount Saint Joseph High School, Neil Adleberg, 74, of Randallstown, is charged in Baltimore County Circuit Court with sexual abuse of a minor and related offenses. He’s set to stand trial on June 20, according to online court records.
Kurt Wolfgang, executive director of the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center, who’s representing four survivors, described the release of the report as a “historic event.”
”I think people have to realize that for some of the victims of this, it may not be a joyous event. They have to, in many situations like this, wade through their personal demons and trauma again,” Wolfgang said. “But we are very hopeful that this is going to result in some ultimate justice — or at least some measures of justice — that is better than what has been afforded in the past.”
Wolfgang said he looks forward to reading the report and pushing for indictments against “those who are responsible.” He encouraged any survivors to come forward.
Lawmakers are on the verge of passing the Child Victims Act of 2023, which would greatly expand the ability of survivors of sexual abuse to file lawsuits against institutions.
The Maryland House of Delegates and Maryland Senate now must pass each other’s version of the bill before the legislative session wraps up on April 10.
Gov. Wes Moore, a Democrat, has said he looks forward to signing the final bill when it reaches his desk.