In 1987, a lawyer for the Archdiocese of Baltimore contacted a prosecutor with a question: was the church obligated to report a priest who had recently been accused of attempting to rape a teenage girl a decade earlier?
The answer was no, according to last week’s extensive report into sexual abuse and coverups in the archdiocese. But the priest could be charged with assault, battery or attempted rape, the assistant state’s attorney said.
Neither the lawyer nor the archdiocesan official who spoke to the prosecutor provided the name of the priest, Father Thomas J. Bauernfeind, or officially reported that a woman had named Bauernfeind as her abuser and that Bauernfeind had admitted to abusing the woman when she was a teenager.
Bauernfeind was not prosecuted, and there is no sign the archdiocese investigated further.
The lawyer who reached out to the assistant state’s attorney was from Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP, the church’s longtime law firm in Baltimore.
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