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Victims Were Sexually Abused by Five Priests in Our Lady of Victory Parish in Baltimore County: Were You or a Loved One Among Them?

Perpetrators

Did You or a Loved One Experience Sexual Abuse at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Baltimore County?

Our Lady of Victory Parish in Baltimore County, Maryland, has been home to many Catholic parishioners. In addition to the church, the parish also operated a Pre-K through eighth-grade school of the same name until 2021. Sadly, in the Maryland Attorney General’s heavily researched Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Our Lady of Victory Parish was cited as one of several parishes that employed multiple sexually abusive priests over several decades. Many of these priests knew one another from their employment here and in nearby parishes and may have aided each other in avoiding the consequences of their actions.

Many brave victims have already come forward to tell their stories. However, many have not yet had their chance or were dismissed by Church officials in the past as they tried to cover up the incidents and avoid scandal. The Archdiocese of Baltimore failed to warn families or protect the children in its care at Our Lady of Victory and elsewhere, and the Church must answer for these failures. If you or a loved one were abused by a priest, nun, or member of the laity in any Baltimore parish, the religious institution sexual abuse lawyers at Andreozzi + Foote can help you seek justice for the harm you’ve experienced. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.

Who Are the Priests Named in the Report Who Worked at Our Lady of Victory?

Shockingly, no less than five priests from Our Lady of Victory were named in the report as child sexual abusers. The Fathers are as follows:

  1. Associate Pastor John Louis Affrica: 1975-1976
  2. John Carney: Assistant, 1963-1968; associate pastor, 1970-1972.
  3. Francis Ernst: Served at Our Lady of Victory 1976-1993.
  4. Anthony Joseph Maskell: Associate pastor, 1968-1970.
  5. Pastor John Peacock: 1952-1973.

As evidenced by the above timelines, several abusive priests worked at the parish and school during overlapping periods. Only some named priests were accused of assault during their time at Our Lady of Victory Parish. Still, considering their history of credible accusations at other locations, the strong possibility remains of as-yet unidentified victims coming forward. These priests preyed children. The assaults occurred at the Our Lady of Victory School, rectory, church, and during outings. Tragically, the abuse sometimes continued for years. Some victims were even subjected to assaults by more than one of these individuals.

Why Do Clusters of Priest Abuse Occur?

The AG’s report noted it was common practice for the Archdiocese to allow accused child abusers to remain as clergy. In many instances, accused priests would be moved from their current assignment to a new parish, often still in a capacity that gave them direct access to youths. The most severe action taken by the Church was to send the accused priest to a “treatment center” run by clergy members. However, there is little evidence that their treatment was effective, and most became repeat offenders. Father Maskell alone abused at least 39 victims as a priest. While some church officials were certainly aware of the situation, as evidenced by records obtained by the Attorney General, they did not inform their parishioners of these dangerous predators in their midst.

How did so many of these abusers end up in the same parish? The answer, in this case, is uncertain. Still, many times these clusters of abusers occurred because church officials in the parish were willing to ignore the abusive actions or were also child abusers themselves. Priests could request assignments when they were moved, and the presence of a school in this parish may have been a draw for perpetrators of sexual abuse.

Is It Possible for Victims to File Civil Suits for Damages?

Yes.

The negligent acts of the Archdiocese and their repeated failures to remove abusive priests caused untold harm to children in Baltimore. Those who came forward often had their claims summarily dismissed or were subjected to pressure. Some experienced retaliative actions (such as expulsion from school), or even counter-investigations. These traumatic experiences only added to the damage caused by the betrayal of trust inflicted by the abusive priests.

Many victims have stayed quiet due to fear, shame, or worries about the judgment of their church and community. Others believe it is too late to take action because the abuse happened decades ago, and the perpetrators are retired or dead. Maryland just passed a bill that allows child sexual abuse victims to bring a civil lawsuit against their abusers and/or the Church for damages.  No matter when the abuse happened.

How Can Our Experienced Lawyers Assist You?

At Andreozzi + Foote, we understand the challenges of coming forward with priest abuse accusations. We provide strong, compassionate legal representation for those ready to tell their stories. No amount of compensation can undo the pain of what you experienced. The Church’s recognition of the wrongs done to you as a child may help bring a sense of justice. If you were subjected to sexual abuse in Maryland, contact our skilled attorneys at 866-311-8640.

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