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Pennsylvania report on Catholic church abuse leads to calls for Frosh to investigate in Maryland

Following this week’s release of an exhaustive grand jury report in Pennsylvania documenting decades of child abuse by Catholic priests, there are calls for Maryland’s attorney general to take on a similar investigation.

A spokeswoman for Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said the office does not confirm or deny the existence of any investigations, and declined to comment further.

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An investigation by the attorney general would be the first step before convening a grand jury to review potential findings.

An explosive grand jury report on pervasive child abuse in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania has called into question the actions — or inactions — of late Baltimore Cardinal William H. Keeler, who previously was hailed for his transparency in handling abuse cases.

The Pennsylvania report found links to Baltimore, including documenting that the late Cardinal William H. Keeler allowed two abusive priests to continue in ministry when he was a bishop in Harrisburg.

One of those priests, the Rev. Arthur Long, was allowed to come to Baltimore, though the church says it has no abuse reports involving him here.

Frosh’s Republican opponent in November’s general election, Craig Wolf, issued a statement this week asking for Frosh to investigate the church.

A priest who was accused of improper sexual relationships with girls in Pennsylvania and later allowed to minister in Baltimore was not the subject of any abuse reports in Maryland, according to the priest’s religious order and the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

He was joined by advocates who were featured in last year’s Netflix documentary “The Keepers,” which explored a possible link between an abusive priest at Archbishop Keough High School and the unsolved killing of a nun who may have known about the abuse.

Those advocates have been calling for the Archdiocese of Baltimore to release the files of the priest, the Rev. A. Joseph Maskell, gathering tens of thousands of signatures in an online petition. The Archdiocese has declined to do so.

The purpose of that petition was changed this week to focus on asking Frosh to convene a grand jury to investigate abuse in the church.

Nearly 69,000 people had signed the petition as of Friday morning, although it’s unclear how many signed after the petition’s mission was changed. Last fall, the petition had 54,000 signatures.

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Gov. Larry Hogan, who is in Ocean City for a government conference, said he believed an investigation is warranted, but wasn’t sure who should lead it.

“That’s a tragic situation, where we need to figure out what happened, no question about it,” said Hogan, who is Catholic.

Baltimore Sun reporter Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has responded to the creator of a petition that urged the release of personnel files of the priest at the center of “The Keepers” documentary.

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