More than 600 children were raped and tortured by Catholic clerics. Archbishop expresses ‘shock’ and ‘horror’

AFTER blogging for decades about abuse within religious organisations—the Catholic Church in particular—I thought I’d grown too benumbed to be unsettled by reports of such brutality … until today.

As I trawled through details of an investigation published yesterday by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office concerning 80 years of child sex abuse and torture within Baltimore’s Catholic archdiocese—headed by Archbishop William E Lori, above— I became so sickened that I had to step outside for 10 minutes to compose myself.

Read this appalling extract from MSN and you see why I became so infuriated:

In 1987 at St. Louis parish in Clarksville, one victim was made to wear a loincloth while [Father John Joseph] Mike poked him with a heated pin and forced him to run laps around the parish gym as Mike lashed him with a bullwhip.

The victim wrote in his diary:

I was tied to a basketball backboard by my hands and suspended into the air, where he whipped me 150 times with a bullwhip, from which I shall always carry the scars.

And this:

In 1987, the head of the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office’s sex crimes unit declined to prosecute Father Robert Newman, who admitted to abusing 12 boys between the ages of 9 to 15 over a 15-year period.

That unnamed prosecutor said she saw ‘the value of trying to keep a man like this in ministry‘ (my emphasis) …

Newman was sent to a treatment center and then assigned to the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, where he remained a priest until his abuse was made public in 2002.

Lori, according to The Washington Post, said in a statement after the report was published yesterday (Wednesday) that:

The detailed accounts of abuse are shocking and soul searing. It is difficult for most to imagine that such evil acts could have actually occurred. For victim-survivors everywhere, they know the hard truth: These evil acts did occur.

Then came the inevitable “ah, but all that was in the past.”

The archdiocese, said Lori:

Is not the same organization it was when, as the report documents, cases of abuse peaked during the 1960s and 1970s.

Others were complicit in cover-ups

Back to MSN:

According to the report, police, prosecutors, the press and at least one judge treated the church with deference when they became aware of abuse, uninterested in learning what diocesan leadership knew and when.

In one case, the report says, Archbishop Francis Keough in 1958 secretly resolved an accusation with the help of an unnamed Baltimore Circuit Court judge. Keough promised to send Father Gerald Tragesser, accused of abusing a 13-year-old girl, to treatment and banish him from Maryland.

When the victim’s mother, who Keough described as a ‘non-Catholic’ wanted the case publicized, Keough used the ‘happy influence of a highly placed newspaper man’ to keep any story from being published, according to letters Keough wrote to fellow priests. The report did not identify the newspaper. Tragesser died in 2013.

Image via YouTube

The report, released by Maryland Attorney General Anthony G Brown, above, said an investigation found that more than 600 young people from preschoolers to young adults—suffered sexual abuse and “physical torture” by over 150 clergy members from the mid-1940s to 2002.

The AG’s office had previewed some of its findings in a November court filing, but the report itself brought them to life “in visceral and horrifying detail.”

For example, two sisters were abused as grade-schoolers “hundreds of times” by one priest. And a deacon admitted to molesting more than 100 minors over three decades.

I frankly haven’t the stomach to write further about this latest investigation. If you want more details read the full MSN and Washington Post reports. And there is more here, here and here.

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3 responses to “More than 600 children were raped and tortured by Catholic clerics. Archbishop expresses ‘shock’ and ‘horror’”

  1. stephenharvie Avatar

    If they are admitting to 600 then it is more likely to be 6000. The RCC needs to be shut down, its priests either jailed or castrated, and its properties and finances sequestered for the public good.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These same disgusting and contemptible priests will be preaching to their gullible flock about God’s love. They can only get away with amusing themselves by torturing kids because they operate in a context where abuse is acceptable or at least ignored. .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So Lori is “shocked”. Where has he been the past sixty-odd years? Living under a stone somewhere?


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