Storied Baltimore Catholic Family Sues Archdiocese, Says Sexual Abuse Led to Death

For more than 60 years, the name Francis X. Gallagher has been linked prominently in Baltimore with the Catholic Church. The late Gallagher Sr. in 1961 founded an influential law firm that represented the Baltimore Archdiocese and does so to this day; his name adorns Catholic institutions in the city, his face smiles from black-and-white photos with a pope on one side, a cardinal on the other.

But behind closed doors, his grandchildren now say, Catholic institutions destroyed the Gallagher family through clergy sexual abuse, neglect, coverup and shame.

In a wrongful-death lawsuit filed Tuesday in Baltimore Circuit Court, two of Gallagher Sr.’s adult grandchildren allege that their father, Francis X. Gallagher Jr., a successful city lawyer, banker and philanthropist, was sexually abused as a 14-year-old in 1974 while he worked the night shift as a receptionist at St. Mary’s Seminary. The suit claims that the alleged abuse, along with the mishandling of his allegations by the archdiocese and its lawyers at Gallagher, Evelius & Jones, emotionally wrecked Gallagher Jr., who began using drugs and overdosed last August at the age of 62.

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