BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A former school teacher admits to inappropriate relations with three students decades ago. Now the Catholic community is in shock.
Rick Ritter has the latest on the investigation and the next steps now that the church, school and police know what happened.
The alleged victim says she had sexual encounters with Murtha when she attended the high school. The Archdiocese says Murtha admitted to those allegations and then confessed to similar behavior with two other students.
Not one, not two, but at least three students. That’s how many the Archdiocese says 58-year-old Helene Murtha sexually abused in the 1980s.
“We have absolutely no place in our church for anyone who would harm a child,” said Sean Caine, Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The alleged abuse occurred while Murtha was a teacher at Archbishop Keough High School — an all-girls school in Baltimore that later became Seton Keough.
From Sky Eye Chopper 13, Seton Keough’s campus never looked so peaceful. But down below, the Archdiocese says it’s just one place the 58-year-old admits to having sexual encounters with female students.
“This is very emotional, trying, difficult. It affects everybody differently,” Caine said.
The alleged victim came forward early this week. That’s when the Archdiocese alerted police and approached Murtha.
“Who admitted the allegation and informed us of two other individuals,” said Caine.
The incidents reportedly occurred at Murtha’s home, the high school and at Monsignor O’Dwyer Retreat House, where Murtha helped supervise retreats and other activities for young children and adults.
“Any time we’re talking about sexual contact with a child, that is abuse,” said Caine.
Murtha wasn’t just a Seton Keough teacher. The 58-year-old used to serve as associate dean of student life at the College of Notre Dame Maryland.
The news sent shockwaves through her neighborhood, where many tell WJZ the allegations are “rattling” and “disgraceful.”
The Archdiocese says their main focus are the victims and digging to find out if there’s more who have yet to come forward.
“Obviously, we are concerned that there could be others,” Caine said.
Murtha was fired immediately. Both Baltimore City and county police are involved in the investigation, which is ongoing.
Murtha started working at Seton Keough in 2010 as a substitute teacher and later became full-time.
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