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Baltimore Archdiocese settles with a dozen victims allegedly abused by same priest

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Posted at 11:57 PM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 07:00:05-05
For the past several months, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has been holding mediation talks with a group of about a dozen people who said they were sexually abused by the same person.
 
The abuse is alleged to have stretched over a couple of decades and may have happened some years ago, but the alleged victims are just now beginning to feel what they may call justice.
 
Before it became what is now Seton Keough High School, during the 1960's and 70's it was known by a different name -- Archbishop Keough.
 
 
Teresa Lancaster, a Baltimore area woman, attended classes at Archbishop Keough in 1970 and endured years of sexual abuse at the hands of Fr. Joseph Maskell who worked there as a chaplain.
 
"It continued through junior year, into senior year," Lancaster said. "I was in there with him. He took all my clothes off, he had me sit on my lap and he abused me."
 
ABC2 does not typically identify victims of sexual abuse, but Lancaster said she wanted to share her story.
 
"I want everyone to know what happened so that it doesn't happen again," she said.
 
Though she said the abuse happened, it wasn't until years later she made her allegations known to the Archdiocese and received a  $40,000 settlement.
 
Lancaster's attorney, Sheldon Jacobs, represents a group of about a dozen more people who allege similar abuse occurred.
 
"He really tried to create the idea that he was their pal," Lancaster said.
 
Jacobs said the group he represents consists of both men and women who said the abuse happened while they attended Archbishop Keough. The stories between them, he said, are strikingly similar, and he's has worked to reach similar settlements with each of them, though he declined to specify how much.
 
Jacobs described them as "stories of wooziness and sleepiness after they came out of his office. Stories of missing under pants, blouses unbuttoned."
 
The Archdiocese confirmed the settlements but could not provide specific numbers. They've opened dialog with the victims, a spokesman said, to help them move toward healing.
 
"We've certainly been aware and working with these victims for a number of years," said Sean Caine, executive director of communications for the Archdiocese. "Our desire would be that it never happened to begin with, but short of being able to undo that, the best we can do is try to bring them some healing."
 
Caine said the Archdiocese has reached out to all the locations where Maskell served.
 
Maskell was put on leave by the Archdiocese in 1994 before dying in 2001.
 

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