How Can a Civil Lawsuit Help Victims Seek Justice for the Trauma They Experienced at the Hands of Sexually Abusive Priests Like Father Joseph Maskell?
Priests involved with the running and supervision of Catholic schools have traditionally held positions of incredible power and influence over students. Unfortunately, some of those priests, like Father Joseph Maskell, grossly violated the trust of their post and used their power to sexually abuse and assault students during their tenure. Victims often struggle to come to terms with that betrayal and its long-term impact on their lives. It can take many years before they are prepared to speak out about their experiences.
Sadly, from the information gathered in investigative reports that have become public in recent years and months, it is clear that child abusers within the Catholic church often did not act alone. Instead, some other church officials ignored or actively covered up their actions, which allowed the abuse to continue, sometimes for decades. While victims have struggled to have their voices heard in the past, many states have taken steps to make it easier to hold child sexual abusers and the institutions that enable them accountable for their misdeeds.
If you were abused by Father Joseph Maskell or another priest, nun, or member of the laity, our experienced religious institution sexual abuse lawyers can help you seek the justice you deserve. We know it can be hard to talk about these experiences, but our compassionate lawyers are here to listen and provide knowledgeable legal guidance. We provide free, confidential case evaluations where you can learn more about your rights and options under your state’s laws.
Who Was Father Joseph Maskell?
Maskell was a Roman Catholic priest who worked as a counselor within the Archdiocese of Baltimore from 1965 to 1994. He was first accused of sexual assault by an altar boy at a Baltimore church in 1967. After being confronted by the boy and his mother, he was transferred to a nearby parish. This pattern of accusations, followed by a subsequent transfer to a new location, would be repeated many times throughout Maskell’s time with the church.
The Netflix documentary, The Keepers, contains interviews with former students who allege that Father Maskell and others abused them during their time at Keogh High School. The documentary also alleges that Maskell may have played a role in the unsolved murder of a nun who taught at the school in 1969, although these claims have not been substantiated.
Maskell was placed on leave from ministry in 1994 following two sexual abuse lawsuits from former students at Keogh High School. Criminal charges were also filed regarding this abuse. At this time, Maskell moved to Wexford, Ireland. Despite numerous accounts from male and female children of alleged abuse over the years, he was not listed as credibly accused by the Archdiocese until 2002, a year after his death.
What Does the Maryland Attorney General’s Report Say About His Time at Keogh High School?
In the Maryland Attorney General’s Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which was released in 2023, it is stated that most of the known sexual abuse reports against Maskell are related to his time at the Archbishop Keogh High School in Baltimore. Keogh High School was a private all-girls Catholic school, and Maskell worked there as a psychological counselor from 1969-1975. In all, at least 39 individuals have come forward and accused Maskell of sexually abusing them or someone they knew. According to the AG’s report, the Archdiocese has so far made settlements with 15 victims of Maskell’s abuse.
Where Else Was Father Joseph Maskell Assigned?
During his 30 years with the church, Maskell held positions at several churches and institutions in the state of Maryland, including:
● Sacred Heart of Mary, Baltimore
● St. Clement, Lansdowne
● Our Lady of Victory, Baltimore
● Archbishop Keough High School, Baltimore
● Annunciation, Baltimore
● Holy Cross, Baltimore
● St. Augustine, Elkridge
Following his removal from the ministry in 1994, he moved to Wexford, Ireland, and continued practicing psychology. Be aware that this list may not fully account for all of Maskell’s assignments or travels.
Is It Possible to File a Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse Experienced as a Child at Keogh High School or Elsewhere?
In the past, it was difficult for individuals who had suffered abuse as children to file civil lawsuits because Maryland’s statute of limitations placed a time limit on bringing claims. Until 2017, individuals could only file child sexual abuse claims until age 25. Now, the age limit is 38, but it appears that Maryland may be poised to remove the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claims and allow a “lookback window” during which survivors could file lawsuits no matter when the abuse occurred. For the latest regarding this legislation or to learn more about the laws in your state, contact our office today to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer.
How Can Our Law Firm Help if You or a Loved One Were a Victim of Father Joseph Maskell?
The accusations leveled against Father Maskell in the Maryland Attorney General’s report are disturbing and horrifying. He allegedly used his position within the church to gain access to and abuse multiple children over many years, and the Archdiocese did not take action to protect these children, despite repeated accusations. If Maskell or another priest assaulted you or a family member, you do not have to continue living with your pain in silence. Call Andreozzi + Foote today to schedule a no-cost, confidential consultation with a compassionate lawyer who is ready to assist you.