The Maryland Attorney General’s Office released a newer, less-redacted version Tuesday of its report on the history of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, but some key names remain hidden as people are appealing their inclusion.
The names of five high-ranking Catholic officials who helped enable and cover-up abuse, according to the report, are still redacted along with the name of one alleged abuser.
Their names, which The Baltimore Sun previously verified and published, were set to be included in this most recent version of the report but are being withheld because the six are appealing the court’s decision to release them. Another alleged abuser’s name is being withheld because the attorney general’s office was unable to contact him — The Sun also was able to identify him.
The attorney general’s report, released in April, details how at least 156 clergy and laypersons abused more than 600 children and young adults throughout the 20th century. The report also shows the extent the church worked to cover-up the abuses.
While two alleged abusers’ names remain redacted in the latest public version of the report, eight names of abusers were not redacted as they were before. The release of those names confirms reporting by The Sun and other news organizations about the abusers’ identities.
Neither the individuals whose names remain shielded nor those whose names are now public have been criminally charged.
This interim version of the report is the latest development in the ongoing fallout from the revelations of the decades of abuse. Earlier this month, The Sun revealed that archdiocesan officials were considering filing for bankruptcy to insulate the church from the financial consequences of what is expected to be several new lawsuits from abuse survivors. Maryland lawmakers made it easier this year to sue institutions who employed abusers, but the law is expected to be challenged in court.
At the center of the monthslong legal battle over whether blacked-out names in the report about the archdiocese should be made public were 15 people: 10 accused abusers and the five officials. Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert Taylor ruled in August that the attorney general could release 43 of the 46 blacked-out names, including the five officials and 10 alleged abusers.
All court filings and hearings surrounding the decision whether to release the report and to un-redact names have been hidden from the public by order of Baltimore judges because the state attorney general’s initial investigation relied on grand jury materials, which are secret under Maryland law and require a court order to make public. It’s not clear whether the appeals will happen in open court; records of previous hearings and filings in the matter remain sealed.
Should the appeals be unsuccessful, the attorney general could release those names in the future, the office said in a news release.
“Without putting names to those who acted or failed to act when confronted with a slow-motion crisis of sexual abuse that revealed itself throughout most of the 20th century and beyond — it becomes impossible to fully understand the scope of what is detailed in the report,” Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert Taylor wrote in his Aug. 16 opinion.
The five officials held some of the highest positions in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and were historically in charge of priest personnel issues. Identified in the redacted report as Officials A-E, they are as follows:
- Official A — Msgr. J. Bruce Jarboe
- Official B — Msgr. Richard ‘Rick’ Woy
- Official C — Bishop W. Francis Malooly
- Official D — Msgr. George Moeller
- Official E — Msgr. G. Michael Schleupner
Of the five, Malooly rose the highest in the Catholic hierarchy, eventually being appointed as the bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware.
All five have repeatedly declined The Sun’s interview requests.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore did not oppose the report’s release, but did pay the legal fees of a group of people (likely including the five officials) who sought to challenge their inclusion in the report. It’s not clear if the archdiocese is footing the bill for the appeals; a spokesperson did not address the question.
“Since the start of the investigation by the Maryland Office of Attorney General into child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and throughout the entirety of the ensuing legal process, the Archdiocese offered its full cooperation and support,” Baltimore archdiocese spokesman Chrisitian Kendzierski wrote in an email. “At the same time, we believed that those named in the report had a right to be heard as a fundamental matter of fairness.
“In today’s culture where hasty and errant conclusions are sometimes quickly formed, the mere inclusion of one’s name in a report such as this can wrongly and forever equate anyone named, no matter how innocuously, with those who committed the evilest acts,” Kendzierski wrote.
When The Sun revealed the names of those clerics, Woy resigned from the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center board and Archbishop William E. Lori canceled Jarboe’s previously planned transfer to a prominent parish in Towson after backlash from parishioners and families with children at its parochial school.
Taylor wrote in his August opinion that the officials argued the attorney general’s report mischaracterized their actions and insinuated sinister motives when they were blameless, or at least justified, in their actions. Taylor wrote that the five officials are free to make those claims in a public manner, but “this is an argument for more transparency, not less.”
“To continue to hide their identities does not advance that interest in public discourse; just the opposite,” the judge wrote. “It allows the most negative possible inferences to be drawn, while continuing to shroud this troubling history in secrecy.”
The other notable name being withheld is that of Frank Cimino Jr., who resigned from his position with the Maryland State Boychoir after The Sun revealed his inclusion in the report in late May.
Cimino, through an attorney, threatened to sue the newspaper and has denied all wrongdoing. According to the attorney general’s report, he was fired in 1987 from his role as choir director at St. Thomas More after a seminarian accused Cimino of molesting him in the 1970s. Cimino founded the Maryland State Boychoir shortly after his firing.
Taylor determined that the name of former Rev. Joseph F. O’Brien, No. 154 on the report’s “List of Abusers,” would remain redacted for the time being because the attorney general’s office has been unable to notify him about his inclusion in the report. That meant he was not afforded an opportunity to participate in a July hearing to argue against his name being made public.
The Sun identified O’Brien in May and located him in Newport News, Virginia. He told a reporter he could not have committed the abuse because the girl who accused him of unwanted kissing and fondling “didn’t wear dresses” and “was gay.”
The names of the eight alleged abusers whose names were previously shielded and were un-redacted Tuesday are as follows:
- Rev. Joseph G. Fiorentino
- Sister Catherine A. Hasson
- Rev. Thomas Hudson
- Rev. John Peter Krzyzanski
- Rev. Samuel Lupico
- Brother Ronald N. Nicholls
- Rev. Joseph O’ Meara
- Michael V. Scriber
In addition to the six most notable appeals, it appears as if the majority of the other earlier redacted names still remain hidden, meaning it is likely they are also appealing. Taylor described them in his opinion as having “played relatively minor roles” — and they have largely avoided public scrutiny.