Source: Associated Press
By DAVID McFADDEN
BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland’s top law enforcement official on Thursday announced a phone hotline for victims to report child sex abuse associated with a place of worship or school across the U.S. state, which is steeped in Catholicism like few others.
Attorney General Brian Frosh announced the creation of the hotline in Baltimore, home to the country’s first bishop, first cathedral, first diocese and first archdiocese. Unlike counterparts in other states that have formally announced probes into clergy sex abuse, Frosh’s office has only publicly called for victims of abusers linked to schools or places of worship to come forward.
But last year, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori wrote priests and deacons in the archdiocese advising them that Frosh’s office was delving into church records as part of an investigation into child sex abuse. He has pledged full cooperation throughout the process.
Zach Hiner, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, praised the launch of the hotline, saying it gives abuse victims a “new avenue to come forward” and name their abusers.