A Catholic priest resigned from his position on the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center’s board of directors after The Baltimore Sun revealed his role in helping to cover up child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Monsignor Richard “Rick” Woy, a longtime board member at the Towson hospital, delivered his resignation letter Saturday to St. Joseph Board Chairman Gerard Holthaus after giving word Friday that he planned to do so, Holthaus said.
Asked whether the board asked Woy to resign, Holthaus declined to comment and referred questions to hospital CEO Dr. Thomas Smyth. Reached by phone, Smyth referred questions to the hospital’s media relations office. In an email, St. Joseph’s Marketing Director Mary Ann Hodes simply stated that the board accepted Woy’s resignation.
Hospital officials declined to share a copy of the resignation letter or take further questions. The hospital listed Woy on its website as a board member as recently as Thursday evening; he no longer appears on that list.
Currently the pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Crofton, Woy is one of five high-ranking priests whose identities were redacted in a Maryland Attorney General’s Office report that detailed the history of child sexual abuse and torture within the archdiocese, as well as the Catholic Church’s efforts to silence abusers and make allegations disappear.
A former vicar general for the archdiocese, Woy is named in the report 56 times as “Official B.”
The Sun published an article Thursday naming Woy, former Delaware Bishop W. Francis Malooly and monsignors G. Michael Schleupner, J. Bruce Jarboe and George B. Moeller as Officials A through E. In addition to those five, there are 10 living people accused of abuse and whose identities are shielded in the public version of report, which was released last month.
The Sun reviewed thousands of pages of court records, decades of archdiocese directories, and dozens of contemporary newspaper articles to piece together details that helped reveal the five official’s identities. People with knowledge of their conduct at the time or who are familiar with the report confirmed The Sun’s reporting.
[ Read: The Sun's coverage of the Catholic Church's child sexual abuse scandal in Maryland ]
Woy has not returned phone calls and text messages over the past five days seeking interviews. At his parish Friday, Woy declined via a church employee to be interviewed.
In addition to Woy, Schleupner and Jarboe currently celebrate Mass at parishes. Malooly is retired and living in Delaware. Moeller celebrates Mass for fellow residents of the retirement community where he lives.
A request Monday to the archdiocese for comment was not returned. Church leaders have not challenged The Sun’s reporting on the identities of the five officials.
The five were among the most powerful officials in the archdiocese, serving directly under the cardinals and archbishops of their time. Throughout his career, Woy served as chancellor of the archdiocese, director of its office of child and youth protection and as director of clergy personnel. He also was stationed at some of the archdiocese’s most prominent posts, including a recent stint as rector of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in North Baltimore.
The St. Joe’s hospital board tried to oust Woy from his seat in 2017 after the release of the Netflix documentary series “The Keepers,” which highlighted the horrific abuses of Father A. Joseph Maskell and lay teacher John Merzbacher. The series showed Woy’s role in those investigations.
However, current Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori wrote a letter on Woy’s behalf and he kept his seat on the board. Lori stated Woy had his “unqualified support” and was “known for his tough stance on child abuse and has always put the pursuit of truth and the welfare of children above all other aims.”
The University of Maryland Medical System acquired St. Joseph’s in 2012 from Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives. As a condition of the $200 million purchase, UMMS agreed the hospital would continue to follow health care policies created by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The current St. Joseph’s board includes other Catholic clergy members.
The Evening Sun
In a news conference Monday, survivor advocates renewed calls for Lori to resign and urged the church to remove Woy, Schleupner and Jarboe from parish duties.
Bob Logue, secretary of the pastoral council at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, said Monday he was not aware that Woy had been identified as Official B and declined to comment.
Woy’s role in the cover-ups is more recent than those of his four fellow officials. The attorney general’s report shows that in 2005, Woy defended Monsignor Thomas Bevan before the Archdiocesan Independent Review Board after a man came forward and said that in the 1970s Bevan took altar boys to his cabin, gave them alcohol and then watched them run naked.
Woy described Bevan as “forthright” and said that when he visited the cabin, he did not see alcohol abuse or children, according to the report. The report describes the archdiocese as giving “great deference” to Bevan and the priests who vouched for him.
Bevan acted as a priest until 2009, when another victim reported abuse. Further victims reported sexual abuse by Bevan, and he was charged in 2010 in Frederick County. He entered an Alford plea — a guilty plea in which he maintained his innocence, but acknowledged there was sufficient evidence to convict him — to one count of child abuse. A judge ordered him to serve 18 months on home detention and register as a sex offender. Bevan has not responded to requests to be interviewed.
In the Maskell investigations, letters Woy sent to one of the victims, Jean Wehner, in the early 1990s show he was aware of the claims against Maskell. In a 1993 letter that Wehner provided to The Sun, Woy wrote the church would no longer pay for Wehner’s therapy because it couldn’t corroborate her allegations. The report shows the archdiocese was aware of concerns about Maskell’s conduct with children as early as 1966.
Baltimore Sun reporters Cassidy Jensen and Jonathan M. Pitts contributed to this article.