Adults who were sexually abused as children often wind up facing addiction problems or need psychiatric help, typically because they have not been able to get the help and closure they need and deserve. The DOJ (Department of Justice) says 86% never tell a soul.
In the Baltimore Catholic Archdiocese on April 5, 2023, voices at the top echelon of the largest, oldest archdiocese in America publicly acknowledged eight decades of ongoing serial child sexual abuse committed by authority figures in the Catholic Church, including priests and others, from the top of the hierarchy down.
Responding to the news, attorneys set forth to implement a smooth legal path for those seeking help and justice as part of the Baltimore church abuse lawsuit. They are able to help regardless of when they were abused or how old they are today.
Maryland attorney general Anthony Brown’s office published the report after a four-year investigation, instigated by Pope Francis in 2018. Its findings are based on hundreds of thousands of documents, including transfer requests, plus thousands of interviews with witnesses and survivors.
The search counted 156 abusers and 600 survivors. AG Brown said he believes 600 is only a fraction of the real number.
The Child Victim Act Offers Such Hope.
Maryland just passed unprecedented permanent legislation – The Child Victim Act – that lifts any statute of limitation (SOL) for filing child sex assault charges. A total of 25 states so far are working to ease limitations so survivors can report what happened to them, but MD is the first to wipe SOL completely off the map. This applies not only to clergy abuse cases, it is relevant for all survivors of childhood sexual assault, no matter how old you are today.
It doesn’t matter when you were hurt or how old you are now. You can still take action.
The measure not only has a lookback window that eliminates past SOLs, but it also removes the SOL for future abuses and repeals the “statute of repose” that once sheltered institutions from older accusations. Gov. Wes Moore signed the bill on April 12, 2023.
Since 1974 the neuroscientific sector has validated rape trauma syndrome (RTS). RTS can cause dissociative amnesia in survivors, and therefore, result in delayed disclosure. The average age when a person comes forward after being sexually abused as a minor (under 16) is 52, more than three decades later!
“It is important that we shine God’s light on these lived accounts of abuse,”Archbishop William E. Lori wrote April 5, 2023, in an open letter to parishioners.
“The exposure illustrates the radical changes the Archdiocese began making in the 1990s to end this scourge… Make no mistake, however: today’s strong record of protection and transparency does not excuse past failings that have led to the lasting spiritual, psychological, and emotional harm victim-survivors have endured.”– Baltimore Archbishop Wm. Lori
About 10 miles outside the Baltimore city limits is St. Mark’s Parish, a small, lower-middle-class community where Fr. Santhosh George heads the church ministry. After the AG’s report landed, George publicly stated he had no prior knowledge of his parish’s dark history, notably from 1964-2004, when a dozen predator clergy passed in and out. One deacon alone confessed to abusing 100 boys.
It’s Your Call, Nobody Else’s.
If you were sexually abused by an authority figure affiliated with the Catholic Church in Maryland as a minor because a “good faith” institution protected your predator, you could take legal action now. If your life has seemed stuck, you could consider contacting us. You could tell us your story in confidence. Let us help. We would be honored to hear from you. Contact us.
A Case for Justice and A Case for Women work as partners to offer survivors the service of connecting you with high-caliber attorneys who charge nothing unless they achieve a positive result in your case. We charge you nothing to get started. The Child Victim Act gives you all the time in the world in the state of Maryland, so if you wake up one day and feel you’ve already fallen hard enough, you could let us help you up.