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Maryland Jesuits release list of about 30 men 'credibly accused' of sexual abuse of children

The Maryland Province of Jesuits on Monday released a list of about 30 priests and other order members who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of children since 1950.

The list compiled by the Roman Catholic group cites men who at some point worked, studied or served in the Maryland Province, which includes eight states and the District of Columbia. The vast majority of the priests have already been accused publicly of sexual abuse.

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At least one name on the list is new: Francis C. Bourbon, who was assigned to what is now Loyola University Maryland from 1959 to 1968 and from 1986 to 1988. He was the subject of an allegation of unwanted kissing in 1985 in Buckingham, Va., according to the Jesuits; he died in 2007.

None of the Jesuits on the list is serving in ministry now.

Most of the alleged incidents occurred decades ago, with the last known sexual abuse of a child occurring in 2002, according to the Jesuits’ release. Some of the priests were not removed until years after the alleged abuses. In 2003, the Maryland Jesuits implemented ethics policies and set up an independent review board to evaluate accusations and respond to them.

“We are deeply sorry for the harm we have caused to victims and their families,” wrote the Rev. Robert M. Hussey, the leader of the Maryland Province of Jesuits, in a letter released with the list of names and accusations. “We also apologize for participating in the harm that abuse has done to our Church, a Church that we love and that preaches God’s care for all, especially the most vulnerable among us.”

Sheldon Jacobs, an Owings Mills-based lawyer who has represented sexual abuse victims who have settled with the Maryland Jesuits, said the release is a good step forward.

“The Maryland Jesuits seem to be in the forefront of working with due diligence in light of everything coming out over the last few years to make sure this doesn’t happen again in their order,” he said. “Other dioceses are dragging their feet to get into the 21st century,” he said.

Jacobs said these kind of releases hit survivors in different ways. “Some are glad that these names are finally out in print. Others are like ‘ugh — another list of abusers,’” he said.

Some of the priests the Jesuits list have been removed from the ministry and live in a “restricted environment” without access to minors. They include Michael L. Barber, who was assigned to St. Ignatius Church on Calvert Street from 1975 to 1976; Neil P. McLaughlin, assigned to Loyola Blakefield from 1954 to 1956; J-Glenn Murray, assigned to St. Frances-Charles Hall on Chase Street from 1981 to 1988; and William J. Walsh, assigned to the Maryland Province Office from 1956 to 1961 and 1978 to 1985.

Others on the list who have left the Jesuits include Louis A. Bonacci, assigned to what is now Loyola University Maryland from 1978 to 1982; H. Cornell Bradley, assigned to the Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau from 1979 to 1988; and Garrett D. Orr, assigned to what is now Loyola University Maryland from 2004 to 2005.

Some were listed as not being removed from the ministry until years after the estimated timeframe of abuse. For example, the Jesuits listed several allegations of abuse against McLaughlin from the 1950s to the 1980s, but he was not removed from the ministry until 2007. Murray was accused of abusing a minor in Baltimore in 1981 when he worked at St. Frances-Charles Hall but was not removed from the ministry until 2011. Bonnacci was accused of multiple accusations of unwanted touching under and over clothes in Columbia during the 1970s and 1980s, but was not removed from the ministry until 2011. He left the Jesuits in 2011.

The Baltimore Sun could not reach any of the accused priests before publication.

Many of the accused priests with credible or established offenses against a child are dead. They include C. Jeffries Burton, assigned to multiple local institutions between 1968 and 2007; Charles G. Coyle, who studied at the now-closed Woodstock College in Woodstock from 1963 to 1967; John H. Duggan, assigned to Loyola Blakefield from 1968 to 1970; and Stephen M. Garrity; assigned to the Province Office from 1982 to 1985.

Several other investigations of sexual abuse of minors could not be fully vetted, but the order determined that there was a “reasonable possibility” that the alleged offense occurred. The Jesuits wrote in the release that the cases couldn’t be fully investigated because the allegation was brought forward after the death of the accused or there was incomplete information on the allegation. Those cases include allegations against several deceased priests, according to the list: John F.X. Bellwoar, assigned to what’s now Loyola University Maryland from 1940 to 1941; Robert B. Cullen, assigned to Loyola Blakefield on and off from 1952 to 2002; Arthur J. Long, assigned to multiple local institutions between 1957 and 1989; and William Wehrle, assigned to various regional institutions between 1952 and 1986.

Sean Caine, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Baltimore said, “It is the hope of the archdiocese that this disclosure will advance the culture of transparency that we have worked hard to create and that it will inspire other potential courageous victim-survivors to come forward.”Mike Gabriele, a spokesman for the Maryland Jesuits, said the order’s web server was overloaded with people trying to access the names on Monday.

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The release of the list come after the August release of a nearly 900-page grand jury report detailing decades of child sex abuse by hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania.

Last year, the Netflix documentary “The Keepers” exposed sexual abuse allegations at the now-closed Archbishop Keough High School in southwest Baltimore in the 1960s and 1970s and the unsolved 1969 killing of Sister Catherine Ann Cesnik, who taught there. It examined the theory that Cesnik was murdered because she knew about abuse committed by the late priest A. Joseph Maskell, who was the school chaplain and psychologist.

The most recent allegations represent just a few of the accounts of abuse by Catholic priests in the United States and across the world.

Jesuits take three vows: poverty, chastity and obedience. Jesuits in Maryland date to March 25, 1634, when missionaries from England established missions along the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac Rivers, according to the Maryland Jesuit website.

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The Jesuits provide other information about the accusations and reforms online in an FAQ. It asks victims to reach out to their victim assistance coordinator at 443-370-6357 or MARadvocacy@jesuits.org.

Baltimore Sun reporters and Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.

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