BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Pennsylvania grand jury report released a 900-page report Tuesday, detailing decades of widespread sex abuse by priests.
The report said Baltimore’s longtime Catholic leader, the late Cardinal William Keeler failed to report crimes against children. The investigation took place in Pennsylvania and uncovered hundreds of priests linked to sex abuse cases.
The statute of limitations has run out on almost all of those crimes. But a survivor of sex abuse said the Archdiocese could begin to right past wrongs by opening their files on similar cases and coverups in Baltimore.
“Nothing can restore what was taken from me,” Liz Murphy, a survivor of sex abuse, said.
Liz Murphy said she is faithful and forgiving, and seeking change within the Catholic church, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, decades after a teacher sexually abused Murphy and other students at the Catholic Community School in the 1970s.
While school administrators failed to report the crimes happening in classrooms, then teacher, and now convicted child rapist John Merzbacher is in prison serving four life sentences.
“Those of who worked and knew the Cardinal are struggling, the man we knew or thought we knew with the person we read of in this report,” said Sean Caine, a spokesman with the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The report named the late Cardinal William Keeler as one of the men of God who was aware of the crimes and failed to report them. He instead shifted predator priests to new roles.
Exactly what Murphy said happened with the school administrators and religious leaders who knew that Merzbacher was attacking students.
She said she’s spent a lot of her life trying to make sure it does not happen again.
“We’re not people whose names are ever going to be engraved in stain glass windows or carved on cornerstones or have buildings named for us, but we will be the people who will be crying out from underneath the bricks and mortar that they built,” Murphy said.
For years, she wrote letters to Cardinal Keeler, finally meeting with the longtime Catholic leader after her rapist’s trial.
She said nothing came of it.
“They need to make amends, and to make amends you have to change your behavior and I don’t see that behavior changed,” Murphy said.
With the files cracked in Pennsylvania, she said she would like to see the same happen here, for the Archdiocese to bring any sins of the past, to the public eye.
“I said in here, is how can you claim so loudly your love for this thorn crown Jesus, and run so cowardly from the cross or hide it in a vault?” Murphy said. “Open up the vault. Open up the vault,”
The Vatican addressed the Pennsylvania investigation Thursday, describing the accusations as “criminally and morally reprehensible,”