Post by Graveyardbride on Jun 18, 2017 18:36:47 GMT -5
Bishop Malooly Disputes Claims of Dr. Charles Franz
The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington denies allegations in the Netflix documentary The Keepers that he tried to cover up sexual abuse by a Baltimore priest decades ago.
The seven-part series released in late May focuses on a priest, Rev. Joseph Maskell, who was accused of sexually abusing students at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keogh High School in the 1960s and 70s. The series explores a theory that Sister Catherine Anne Cesnik, a teacher at the school, was killed in 1969 because she suspected Maskell was abusing students. Cesnik’s murder remains unsolved, and Maskell was never criminally charged for the abuse before his death in 2001.
Bishop W. Francis Malooly, who was assigned to the Archdiocese of Baltimore before he became Wilmington’s bishop in 2008, is mentioned in the final episode of the series only.
In the last episode, Dr. Charles Franz (above), a dentist in Maryland, describes a meeting with Malooly to discuss allegations that Maskell abused Franz when he was a child. Malooly said the meeting occurred at Franz’s Catonsville dental office in October 1994, soon after Maskell’s victims began suing the church. Franz recalled Malooly going to the meeting with two canon lawyers and telling him the meeting was so important that the archbishop would have been present had he not been in Rome.
Malooly denied that any lawyers were present and said he told Franz the archbishop would have attended if he could to “express his apology and to reach out personally, had he not been in Rome at the time.”
Franz said that at the end of the meeting Malooly asked him, “Well, what do you want, Charlie?” and then mentioned a boat.
“Do I want a boat?” Franz said in the documentary. “No, I don’t want a boat. I’ll tell you what I would like to see, just do what’s right.”
Malooly denied offering Franz a boat. Malooly recalled offering “counseling and spiritual assistance” and encouraging Franz to report the information to the state’s attorney. “At no time did I offer Dr. Franz a boat,” Malooly insisted.
The series goes on to focus on the timeline in which the Archdiocese of Baltimore learned of possible sexual abuse by Maskell. Franz said his mother made a report about Maskell to Archdiocesan authorities in Baltimore in the 1960s, but the Archdiocese of Baltimore said it did not learn of the abuse until victims came forward in the 1990s. Malooly said in his statement that he knows of no record of a report made by Franz’s mother in the church’s files. “I am not aware of any such report,” Malooly said. “I was a college student in 1967.”
The series goes on to point out that Maskell was able to remain in ministry, even after the first victims disclosed the abuse in the 1990s. Malooly said he first learned of the allegations in 1992 when he was vice chancellor and vicar general for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He said Maskell was removed from ministry and referred for evaluation and treatment. According to Malooly, after months of treatment, Maskell returned to ministry in 1993 because the archdiocese could not corroborate the allegations.
When additional allegations were made in 1994, Maskell was permanently removed from the ministry and the Archdiocese of Baltimore publicly announced that church officials wanted to speak with individuals who had information regarding Maskell. Those efforts led to the October 1994 meeting with Franz.
Malooly has served two terms as a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse that addresses sexual abuse of minors.
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Following is Malooly’s statement, posted to the Archdiocese of Wilmington’s website, in which he denies attempting to cover up the alleged sexual abuse at Archbishop Keough High School and disputes the claims of Dr. Charles Franz:
“In the spirit of truth, I would like to make some clarifications regarding some of the claims and insinuations that were made in The Keepers. My intention is to set the record straight, and in no way do I wish to minimize the pain and suffering caused by the abuse perpetrated by Joseph Maskell, or any other priest.
“In 1992, while serving as Chancellor and Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, I was first made aware of the accusations of sexual abuse of minors by Joseph Maskell. At that time, the adult survivor and her attorney were urged to report the abuse to civil authorities, and the survivor was offered counseling assistance. Maskell was removed from ministry and referred for evaluation and treatment with full disclosure to the facility as to the reason for the treatment. Maskell denied the allegation, and after months of evaluation and treatment, he was returned to ministry in 1993 after the Archdiocese was unable to corroborate the allegation following its extensive investigation.
“When additional allegations were made in 1994, Maskell was permanently removed from ministry on July 31, 1994. The Archdiocese of Baltimore publicly stated that it wanted to speak with individuals who had information regarding Maskell. A detective was hired to search for anyone who may have been abused by him. In 1994, a music director at a Catholic church told the Archdiocese that Dr. Charles Franz may have information regarding Maskell, and so we reached out to him and set up a meeting for October 20, 1994.
“The meeting occurred at the Catonsville dental office of Dr. Franz, with Dr. Charles and Mrs. Denise Franz, Fr. Richard Woy, Director of Clergy Personnel for the Archdiocese, and myself in attendance. There were no canon or civil lawyers present. I explained to Dr. Franz that Archbishop Keeler would have attended the meeting to express his apology and to reach-out personally, had he not been in Rome at the time. I explained the policy of the Archdiocese to offer counseling and spiritual assistance as needed. I also encouraged them to report the information to the State’s Attorney. At no time did I offer Dr. Franz a boat.
“Charles Franz states that his mother made some kind of a report about Maskell to unidentified Archdiocesan authorities in 1967. I am not aware of any such report. I was a college student in 1967. As far as I know, there is no record of any report by Mrs. Franz in Archdiocesan files.
“The crime of sexual abuse of a child or young person is inexcusable, especially when it is committed by a member of the clergy – the very person who should be looking out for the spiritual well-being of all persons – particularly the young. The survivors of clergy sexual abuse should be commended for speaking out. It is because of their bravery that the truth of these heinous crimes has come to light. We as a Church must continue our best efforts to help survivors deal with the painful after-effects of sexual abuse.”
Sources: Jessica Masulli Reyes, The News Journal, June 15, 2017, and Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.