By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Archdiocese of Baltimore paid a series of settlements to people alleging they were abused by a local priest decades ago. The alleged acts took place at Archbishop Keough High School.

For some it has been more than 40 years of hiding in the dark – waiting to come forward with their stories of being sexually abused. Now decades later the healing process can begin.

The stories are monstrous:

“He wanted me to touch her between her legs, he was doing like an anatomy lesson,” said one victim.

“I remember him letting me use his bathroom while he watched,” said another victim.

All centered around Father Joseph Maskell, a former priest at Archbishop Keough High School.

“There is nothing more disturbing, more heartbreaking, than these cases of sexual abuse,” said Sheldon Jacobs who is working with the Suder Law Firm on the cases.

The allegations date back to the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Maskell, who worked at the high school, was accused of sexually abusing students, mostly women.

Years later at least a dozen have received settlements from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

“No amount of money can compensate these survivors for what he did to them,” said Jacobs who represents those who allege abuse by Maskell. “A number of these women, were absolutely in fear for their lives.”

Just months ago the Archdiocese of Baltimore blasted out a list of 71 names, including Maskell, of priests with allegations against them.

Part of the settlements include a designated amount for counseling.

“While we work hard on prevention and accountability, the other part of the equation is healing and bringing healing to people who have been harmed by it,” said Sean Caine, spokesman for the Baltimore Archdiocese.

“I think it’s a new world and I think it’s an opportunity for others to come out of the dark,” said Jacobs.

Maskell denied an initial allegation before he died in 2001. The amount being paid to the victims is undisclosed. Jacobs did add that he’s disappointed in the amounts.

Jacobs believes there could be more vicitms. He’s urging them to come forward.

According to the victims’ attorney – the settlements were done outside of court because the statue of limitations for people file civil claims had passed.

Archibishop Keough merged with Seton High School in the late 1980’s and became Seton Keough High School, which is scheduled to close next year

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