BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Several survivors of sexual abuse in Baltimore’s Catholic schools are demanding action against a nun who they say turned a blind eye to crimes decades ago.
“All we want is the truth to be out, and we want justice to be served,” abuse survivor Bill Stankiewicz said.
Survivors and their supporters carried signs outside a home for retired nuns Sunday to draw attention to a former school principal, Sister Eileen Weisman, who they claim knew but never reported a teacher at her former school, John Merzbacher, was sexually abusing students.
Merzbacher is currently in prison for child rape.
Kathie Lewandowski Richardson says Merzbacher abused her in the 1970s at Catholic Community Middle School. She says Sister Weisman ignored it.
Court records from the Merzbacher case also state Weisman knew Merzbacher was abusing children but didn’t intervene.
[Reporter: If you could say something to Sister Eileen, what would you tell her?]
“Do the right thing. Help us find closure. Tell us the truth. What did you know about Merzbacher?” she said.
Stankiewicz says he, too, was abused as a student there.
“The monster that committed most of this, he’s in jail, he’ll never see the free light of day, but there were accomplices,” he said.
The Archdiocese later removed Sister Weisman from any position overseeing the safety of children. She is in the order SSND — School Sisters of Notre Dame.
“For now, we would like to see her removed from her convent,” protester Marsha Wise said.
In a statement, the School Sisters of Notre Dame strongly denies that any of their nuns knew about the abuse. They had no comment about the protest.
The Archdiocese had no comment either, but did speak to WJZ investigator Mike Hellgren in 2017 about whether the church covered up decades-old abuse — including that by Father Joseph Maskell at Archbishop Keough School, the subject of the Netflix documentary “The Keepers.”
“Certainly, when there’s talk of a cover-up, from the church’s standpoint, that’s patently false. Everything the church knew at the time was reported,” Archdiocese spokesperson Sean Caine said last year.
Both the Archdiocese and SSND have condemned any past sexual abuse.
“I still know victims that live in fear and will not give their names, and that says a whole lot of about the power, the power behind the church,” said protest supporter Deb Silcox, who says her cousin was abused at Archbishop Keough School.
Sister Weisman had been living in Rome for several years, but she is now back in Baltimore.
Sister Weisman previously declined WJZ’s request for an interview. She has never been criminally charged.