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Where You Sexually Abused by One of These Six Priests in St. Mary Parish in Cumberland

Perpetrators

Why is the History of Priest Abuse in St. Mary Parish in Cumberland Just Now Coming to Light?

Following a five-year investigation, the Maryland Attorney General released a shocking report on Child Abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 2023. One of the revelations in this report is that several parishes were home to multiple child abusers over the decades. ¬†Indicating a pattern of abuse and cover-ups entrenched in the parish’s culture. One of the parishes named in the report was St. Mary Parish in Cumberland, Maryland. Six priests were listed as credibly accused by the Archdiocese.

If you were ever abused by one of these priests or another clergy member, even decades ago, our lawyers at Andreozzi + Foote could help you seek justice. We have decades of experience advocating for victims and holding abusers and those who enabled them accountable. To learn more about your legal options, contact our office today for a free, confidential case evaluation.

Which Priests Who Worked at St. Mary Parish Were Named in the Attorney General’s Report?

A total of six priests from St. Mary Parish in Cumberland were named in the report. They served in different roles from the 1940s up to the 1990s. Many had already faced accusations or questions when they came to St. Mary and were moved to new parishes to avoid scandal. However, the Archdiocese never informed parishioners of the dangers and failed to protect children from the following six priests.

Father Robert Hopkins

Father Robert Hopkins worked at St. Mary Parish from 1948-1962. Initially, he was an assistant pastor and became an administrator in 1958. Hopkins admitted to abusing a teenage boy in 1955, which would have been during his time at St. Mary. In a 1995 interview with a church official, he identified five of his victims who were parishioners at St. Mary Parish in Cumberland. However, it is uncertain if any of these victims have come forward.

Monsignor Richard Smith

From 1968-1973, Monsignor Richard E. Smith was an assistant pastor at St. Mary. Smith was listed as credibly accused by the Church in 2019. He was assigned to St. Mary after taking a leave of absence following a romantic relationship with an adult female parishioner. In 2007, several male and female victims accused Smith of sexually abusing them while they were teenagers, and the Church entered into settlements with some of them. While none of the victims described in the report were from St. Mary, Smith appears to have been a habitual abuser, as the accusations spanned from the 1960s to the 1980s. Tragically, there could be many more victims who are currently unknown.

Monsignor Thomas Bevan

Bevan was a temporary administrator at St. Mary from 1991-1992. Bevan was initially accused of sexual abuse in 2005 by a man who had spent time at Emmitsburg cabin as a teenager in the 1970s. Despite significant evidence of impropriety, the Archdiocese dismissed the victim’s claims as “not credible.” In the following years, several other victims accused Bevan of sexual abuse at his cabin, and he eventually faced charges in Frederick County in 2010. In his plea, Bevan did not directly admit to the allegations but acknowledged that the State had enough evidence to prove his guilt. He received a suspended 10-year prison term and had to register as a sex offender.

Bevan was a known associate of several other priests accused in the AG’s report and likely was aware of and played a role in covering up other abuses. Many Church officials were complicit in vocally supporting Bevan and dismissing credible claims. Bevan was even allowed to form the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse for the National Conference for Catholic Bishops in the 1990s. He was not listed as credibly accused by the Archdiocese until 2019.

Father Marion Helowicz

Helowicz served as an associate pastor at St. Mary Parish from 1984-1988. In 1988, Helowicz was investigated by the Baltimore County Police Department for child sexual abuse. ¬†The abuse allegedly occurred in his prior assignment from 1981-1984 at St. Stephen’s Parish in Baltimore. He admitted to this abuse and the abuse of another boy and, in 1988, was told to leave his assignment at St. Mary. The Archdiocese eventually settled with both victims.

Bevan’s transfers from his positions were generally abrupt. The reasons for the actions were vague, so they may have been undertaken to avoid scandals. He was even arrested for soliciting a male police officer in 1984. The charges were dismissed because the Church claimed he was receiving treatment. Bevan was listed as credibly accused in 2002.

Father Ronald Michaud

Michaud served one year as a temporary associate pastor at St. Mary in 1976. Beginning in 1988, Michaud was accused by multiple victims of sexual abuse during his assignments in Maryland and Maine from the 1960s through the 1980s. One victim recovered an undisclosed amount from the Archdiocese, and the court ordered Michaud to pay $4.4 million in damages.

Father Michael Spillane

Spillane has been credibly accused of abusing at least six boys for 20 years from the 1960s onward. He was a pastor at St. Mary’s from 1984-1985. This was his final assignment as a pastor before he voluntarily entered a treatment program at St. Luke Institute in 1985. Although the Archdiocese of Baltimore was aware of Spillane’s abuses, they wrote to his lawyer in 1992 that they did not intend to make a report to authorities, alert any of the parishes where he had worked, or notify the public at large.

However, they finally made the mandated report to the Attorney General in 1993.

What Can You Do if You or a Loved One Were Abused by One of These Priests?

Abusive priests harmed the lives of many children in Maryland. Their unconscionable actions have left some victims battling life-long mental health challenges, relationship issues, substance abuse problems, and more. If you have been harmed at St. Mary Parish, you deserve to seek justice.

Maryland passed a law in 2023 allowing all victims of child sexual abuse to bring civil claims against their abusers. Regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. It is critical to contact a religious institution’s sexual abuse lawyer promptly. This will protect your right to hold your abuser and the Church accountable for their actions. Call Andreozzi + Foote today at 866-311-8640 to schedule a confidential consultation with a compassionate, experienced lawyer who can answer your questions.

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