Archdiocese of Baltimore Files for Bankruptcy
Catholic Institution to be protected answering for their part in…“ensuring at all costs that the abuse be kept hidden.”
**In April 2023 this was stated in the newly released Maryland Attorney General’s report on child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore…
“The duration and scope of the abuse perpetrated by Catholic clergy was only possible because of the complicity of those charged with leading the Church and protecting its faithful. Leaders of the Archdiocese repeatedly dismissed reports of abuse and exhibited little to no concern for victims. They failed to adequately investigate complaints and made no effort to identify other victims or corroborate alleged abuse. They transferred known abusers to other positions of equal authority and access to children. They focused not on protecting victims or stopping the abuse, but rather on ensuring at all costs that the abuse be kept hidden. The costs and consequences of avoiding scandal were borne by the victimized children”
When I read what the Attorney General stated, and what many of us have experienced, I was not surprised when the Archdiocese of Baltimore (AOB) filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 29, 2023, two days before Maryland’s Child Victims Act took effect. The new law was expected to bring a flood of lawsuits against the church over old instances of clergy sexual abuse. By filing for bankruptcy, however, church lawyers stopped the litigation in state court and forced survivors to bring their claims to a bankruptcy judge. I can’t help but feel that this may shield those who protected and hid the abusers by preventing them from being called into a courtroom to answer for their part in “ensuring at all costs that the abuse be kept hidden.” These are the facts that I have no doubt would reach to the top of the AOB.
When I heard of the bankruptcy filing, I was triggered, frozen and then enraged. I slowly realized that, on some level, I always expected the AOB to respond in a pastoral, caring manner when confronted with the damage unleashed on their charge, the children of the Church. Even when I first approached the AOB with my memories of Joseph Maskell and Neil Magnus abusing me, what I wanted more than anything was to be heard; but I found myself thrown in front of the face of an AOB lawyer rather than a therapist or pastoral counselor.
What to do now?
So, what do we do now as survivors and supporters? We do not take our eyes off the ball.
For me. I recalibrate and again realize that the AOB is a business, and it sees this entire struggle as an effort to reduce our power by shielding the fact that the elite of the AOB knew about and enabled these acts to be done to us!
This bankruptcy court proceeding is not going to, in any significant way, ease the pain and fear you feel as a survivor each and every day. You should look for that peace in therapy and/or your spiritual practice.
For now, find a reputable lawyer or law firm experienced in cases involving child sexual abuse and bankruptcy.
Kathleen Hoke, a Professor of Law at the University of MD Law School, and an amazing advocate for victims of child sexual abuse, suggests this list of questions for you, and your supporters, to ask potential lawyers.
To read and download these questions, go to: