Some survivors were featured in the Netflix docuseries, “The Keepers.”
By Deena Zaru
Survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic Church leaders rallied in front of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office, calling for the release of preliminary findings of an investigation into the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Teresa Lancaster said she was interviewed four years ago upon the launch of the investigation. She told investigators she was abused at Archbishop Keough High School, but she has yet to be given any answers.
“It’s hard not to see any action,” she said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “I would like to hear something, please.”
Jean Wehner, who says she was also abused while a student at Archbishop Keough High School, said that without any updates over the past four years, survivors who spoke with investigators are finding themselves “in an old familiar place where the silence turns to fear.”
“The fear is that we told the secret and that the disclosure will bring harm to us and our loved ones, or that we are not believed, or that we’ve been duped,” she told the Baltimore Sun.
The school, which merged with Seton High School and was renamed Seton Keough in 1988, closed its doors in June 2017.
Lancaster and Wehner were both featured in “The Keepers,” a popular Netflix docuseries released in 2017 that explored the 1969 murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik and its suspected link to her knowledge of sexual abuse of minors within the church.
Frosh, who is not running for re-election, is set to leave office in January 2023 and survivors are urging him to share the findings before his term comes to a close.
A spokesperson for Frosh’s office told ABC News in a statement on Wednesday that while the AG’s office cannot comment on ongoing investigations, they can confirm that they have conducted hundreds of interviews and reviewed thousands of documents.
“We have made significant progress in the investigation and expect to make an announcement in the coming months,” the spokesperson said.
The investigation into the abuse of children in Baltimore became public in 2018 after Archbishop William E. Lori informed priests and deacons that the archdiocese has been cooperating with the AG’s office in an “investigation of records related to the sexual abuse of children,” according to a statement released by Lori in September of that year.
Lori added, “Based on my conversations with people throughout the Archdiocese…it is clear that we are a Church in crisis and that crisis is one of trust. It is my hope and prayer that this independent review and other acts of transparency by the Archdiocese will bring about greater trust in the Church among those who are understandably skeptical about the Church’s handling of allegations of abuse.”
The Maryland investigation became public after a two-year probe in Pennsylvania ended with a bombshell grand jury report released in August 2018, accusing hundreds of Roman Catholic priests of assaulting children.
So far, no indictments have been announced in Maryland.
Members of “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” (SNAP), who joined Lancaster and Wehner at the rally on Tuesday, called on the AG to hold abusers accountable, while Maryland SNAP director David Lorenz questioned why the Maryland investigation has taken so long.
“We have perpetrators walking the streets of Maryland, preying on children in Maryland, and the [Office of the Attorney General] is sitting on this information. Why is that?” said Lorenz, according to ABC affiliate station in Baltimore, WMAR.
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