Catholic Church: No reports of abuse in Maryland by priest accused in Pennsylvania

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.

The Rev. Arthur Long, who died in 2004, was among hundreds of priests named as alleged abusers in a report this week from a grand jury in Pennsylvania.

After Long was reported for having inappropriate relationships with girls in 1987, he continued serving as a priest and was allowed to come to Baltimore by the late Cardinal William H. Keeler. Keeler had served as a bishop in Pennsylvania and was notified when the allegations against Long were made, according to the grand jury report.

After Long returned to Maryland — where he had been ordained in 1955 — there were no reports of inappropriate behavior, according to the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits.

“We have no record of abuse committed by Father Long,” said Sean Caine, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

He said archdiocesan officials combed through the records of priests in 2002 when it first published a list of clergy who had been accused of abuse.

“In preparation for the disclosure, the archdiocese reviewed the files of every priest — including religious order priests — and there was no allegation made against Father Long during his time here,” Caine said.

Long’s religious order also has no record of wrongdoing in Maryland.

“There were no allegations of inappropriate behavior during these brief time periods,” said Michael Gabriele, a spokesman for the Jesuits’ Maryland Province.

Long lived at St. Ignatius parish on Calvert Street in Mount Vernon for a one-year period in 1988 and 1989, while he worked as a hospital chaplain down the street at Mercy Medical Center, according to Gabriele.

After that, he returned to Pennsylvania, living in Jesuit communities at the University of Scranton and St. Joseph’s University.

Long returned to Maryland in 1992 and spent six weeks living in a Jesuit community associated with Loyola Blakefield High School. He did not interact with students or faculty at the school, Gabriele said.

Long had taught English at Loyola early in his career in the 1950s. There were no abuse allegations at that time, Gabriele said.

Long was dismissed from the priesthood in 1992, according to Gabriele, although the grand jury report indicates Long wasn’t forced out until 1995.

Long’s obituary, published in The Star-Ledger newspaper in Newark, N.J., said he “retired” in 1992.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report criticizes Keeler for allowing Long to transfer to a different diocese and continue ministering after the allegations were made.

“The Grand Jury finds that this practice of transferring dangerous priests to other locations only expanded the pool of unknowing potential victims on which these offenders could re-offend,” the grand jury wrote.

The grand jury report cites a 1995 church memo about Long that states: “Shortly after his assignment reports were again received of inappropriate behavior on his part.”

Caine said that memo likely refers to the alleged abuse in Pennsylvania being “newly brought to the attention of his religious order and which resulted in his departure from ministry.”

Archdiocese of Baltimore officials have been studying the grand jury report to see if any priests should be added to the public list of accused priests. The initial list included 57 priests, and 14 have been added since 2002.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori announced this week that a new Catholic school planned for Baltimore City will no longer bear Keeler’s name.

Baltimore Sun researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this article.

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