BALTIMORE — For nearly four years, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office has been investigating allegations of widespread child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
But survivors who said they endured abuse decades ago tell WJZ they are tired of waiting for answers and fear time is running out.
These survivors want Attorney General Brian Frosh to release the findings of his child sex abuse investigation, because it’s been almost four years.
Members of SNAP – The Survivor’s Network of These Abused by Priests – also want indictments for priests who allegedly abused children and anyone who helped cover up.
As children, survivors hid the secrets of their alleged abuse.
As adults, they openly share details of the pain they believe has been caused by the priests of the Catholic Church.
David Lorenz is the Maryland Director of SNAP. He said his abuse happened in another state when he was 16. He told WJZ it took him another 16 years to tell someone.
“He had a house all by himself in a big mansion with lots of rooms,” Lorenz said of the priest he said abused him. “And so I just crashed that night and was planning on going home the next morning, and he came into my room and I checked in the middle of the abuse. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know how to stop it.”
As Lorenz and other survivors demand the outcome of the investigation, they express concern that priorities might change when a new attorney general is elected.
“I’m afraid if it’s not over by the time he leaves, whoever follows him won’t pick up the ball,” Lorenz said.
The history of sexual abuse allegations within the Catholic Church is well known in the Baltimore area.
Jean Hargadon Wehner is a survivor who spoke to the Attorney General’s office. She remembers the moment she finally opened up to someone she trusted.
“So she said, ‘You don’t need to talk, I’ll ask you questions and you shake your head yes or no,'” Hargadon Wehner recalled. “And then she started asking me, ‘Is someone making you do something you don’t want to do?’ And I shook my head – Yes. And she said, ‘Is this someone I might know?’ And I shook my head – Yes. And she said, ‘Would that be the priest?’ And I shook my head – Yes, ”
The group fears that other children are in danger and that is why they want immediate indictments if there is evidence of abuse or cover-up.
“I feel like in the end, we ended up with survivors supporting survivors, and that’s where I find justice comes from the community,” Hargadon Wehner said.
Pennsylvania conducted a similar investigation of the Catholic Church and it lasted two years. The Maryland investigation has been going on for nearly four years.
Frosh’s office said there may be an update in the coming months, but they had no further comment.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore said it was cooperating with the investigation.