In explaining the decision of the Archdiocese of Baltimore to add 42 names to the list of persons accused of sexual abuse, a spokesperson for the archdiocese stated that the decision builds on the commitment to “transparency, healing and to ridding the Church of the scourge of sexual abuse” (”Baltimore’s Catholic archdiocese adds 42 names to list of staff credibly accused of sexual abuse,” June 30).
Words alone will not rid the Catholic Church of the scourge of sexual abuse. Childhood sexual abuse often ruins lives well into adulthood. In response to this fact the Maryland General Assembly enacted and Gov. Wes Moore signed the Child Victims Act of 2023, waiving the statute of limitations which for many years had prevented abuse cases from being heard in court. The act passed the General Assembly with overwhelming votes (45-2 in the Senate and 132-2 in the House of Delegates) and Attorney General Anthony Brown has vowed to defend it.
But the Baltimore archdiocese opposed the legislation and plans to challenge its constitutionality. This will delay compensation to the victims, perhaps for years, and more importantly, the archdiocese is a serious opponent, possessing legal firepower and the respect which comes from its many good works over the years.
The church cannot rid itself of the scourge of sexual abuse until it compensates the victims and accepts the Child Victims Act of 2023 as a way to accomplish this.
— John C. Murphy, Baltimore