Archdiocese of Baltimore Gives $40,000 To Reported Childhood Multiple-Rape Victim … Apologizes For “Pain You Have Experienced”

Payment Also Requires Recipient
To Relinquish Any Future Claims

By Tom Nugent

November 2016 – Reading, Pa. – After more than 40 years of struggling to get the Catholic Church to “acknowledge the crimes” that were committed against her, a Pennsylvania woman who says she was raped by two priests and a policeman while attending a Catholic high school in Baltimore was recently awarded more than $40,000 from an Archdiocese of Baltimore funding program aimed at “promoting healing for . . . victims of abuse.”

The $40,000-plus payment was accompanied by a letter of apology from an Archdiocesan official who wrote to the victim: “I am sorry for the pain you have experienced.”

Most of the money paid to the victim by the Archdiocese of Baltimore came via a check drawn on the PNC Bank of Baltimore. The check number was 313504634, and it was signed by Archbishop William E. Lori.

“This is a huge step forward for dozens of women who have been trying to get the Catholic Church in Baltimore to publicly acknowledge sex crimes that were committed against them during the past several decades,” said the reported childhood rape victim, Donna Wallis VonDenBosch, a nurse practitioner with a master’s degree who is now working on her doctorate. “For the first time that I’m aware of, the Archdiocese is validating our nightmarish experience by confirming on the record that it actually took place.”

In a statement released via email on November 1, Archdiocesan Executive Director of Communications Sean T. Caine said that the money was paid to VonDenBosch as part of a “longstanding practice of promoting healing for victims by offering therapeutic counseling assistance to victims of abuse for as long as it is helpful. . . .

“Frequently, we also include a designated amount that is set aside to be used only for counseling. This was the case for Ms. VonDenBosch, for whom we set aside an additional $10,000 for counseling assistance. These financial agreements are completely voluntary and are in lieu of any future counseling payments or any other obligations from the Archdiocese.”

But there was a catch.

In order to get the $40,000, she had to sign a contract stating that she will never sue the Archdiocese of Baltimore in the future . . . even if the Maryland General Assembly decides to change the law regarding the “statute of limitations” on past crimes involving the sexual abuse of children – a step that could open the door to lawsuits potentially involving millions of dollars.

But the nurse practitioner said she was less concerned about the money involved than about the acknowledgement by the Archdiocese that she had been abused by priests. “I was deprived of my constitutional rights when I was raped by the priests and the policeman,” she said. “Later I went to the Archdiocese and complained about one of the priests who had raped me and who was still alive – and they told me there was nothing they could do, because he was living in Ireland.

“Then I found out that he was actually living not far from me, right in the Baltimore area. For many years after that, I felt like the continuing refusal to acknowledge those crimes was also depriving me of my constitutional rights.”

The April 21, 2016, letter of apology from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, signed by the Associate Director of the Archdiocesan Office of Child & Youth Protection, reads in part: “On behalf of Archbishop Lori, I am sorry for the pain you have experienced.”

The Reading nurse, who has two adult children, said she was raped “repeatedly” while attending Archbishop Keough Catholic High School in southwest Baltimore during the early 1970s.

The first rape took place during a Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) picnic in September of 1970, soon after she began attending the high school, she said.

She was 14 years old at the time.

“Father [E. Neil] Magnus, who also taught at the school, appeared at the picnic in the passenger seat of a police car,” she recalled during a recent interview. “I was given a drink that must have had drugs in it, because I became weak and dizzy,” she said. “Then I was called over to the police car, and I saw Father Magnus sitting in it.

“He got out and came over to me and started taking my pants down. Then he put his knee between my legs and forced them apart and began raping me. Meanwhile, a second priest – Father [A.] Joseph Maskell, who had been my parish priest before becoming the chaplain at Keough High School and whom I’d known since the age of 12 – stood there looking on as Father Magnus raped me. And then Father Maskell decided to take his turn, and he raped me.”

Two weeks after the rape at the CYO picnic, she added, the high school chaplain, Father Maskell, summoned her to his office at Keough. “He said he wanted to give me some tests, and he started by having me sit on his lap. Then he told me: ‘You don’t know how to love, and I’m going to show you.’ He started taking my clothes off, after that.

“He raped me, and this pattern continued throughout my next three and a half years at Keough. He would call me to his office, and I dreaded those calls. It was a nightmare that happened again and again. Sometimes, when I go into his office, I’m raped. Sometimes he puts a gun in my mouth and warns me that if I tell anybody what is going on, he will kill my parents.

“What could I do? I was terrified all the time. Going to school each day was agony. I used to try to hide from him under stairwells and anywhere else I could hide. I didn’t dare say anything about the rapes. I thought he would kill my parents! One time a Baltimore City policeman joined us . . . and I saw him pay the priest some money. And then the policeman raped me.

“By that point, I didn’t care if I lived anymore.”

The contract she was required to sign does not directly state that the two priests and the policeman committed the rapes.

But the agreement – in which the Archdiocese is referred to as the “Corporation” – does appear to confirm that the Church regards her as a victim of abuse.

The historical record also shows clearly that both of the priests (now deceased) were credibly accused by many Keough students . . . after the Archdiocese investigated numerous complaints of sex abuse, including rape, at the high school during the period in which the nurse claimed to have been abused.

The priests were never prosecuted, however.

Although she has now been paid more than $40,000, minus attorney fees, the nurse noted that the contract she was required to sign also contains a clause which bars her from ever receiving any additional compensation for the alleged rapes.

After pointing out that she will not be permitted to bring any future compensation case against the Archdiocese, the contract states that she “. . . understands that the law regarding the statute of limitations may change in the future . . .” but that she is nonetheless “now for all time releasing any claims she may have against the Released Parties” [including the Archdiocese and the School Sisters of Notre Dame, among others] . . . “regardless of any legislative change that may occur in the future.”

Asked to respond to some of her assertions about the contract, Director of Communications Caine replied on November 1 with the following statement:

“The Archdiocese has had a longstanding practice of promoting healing for victims by offering therapeutic counseling assistance to victims of abuse for as long as it is helpful and not only for the victims themselves, but for others close to them who may have suffered the effects of their loved one’s abuse. Victim-survivors are free to engage a counselor of their choosing and the Archdiocese pays the provider directly. For those victims who wish to have nothing to do with the Church and/or who would prefer to be in control of their own healing, we offer them a one-time financial payment through a non-adversarial process with a retired, non-Catholic judge.
“We make these offers without regard to legal liability. Frequently, we also include a designated amount that is set aside to be used only for counseling. This was the case for Ms. VonDenBosch, for whom we set aside an additional $10,000 for counseling assistance. These financial agreements are completely voluntary and are in lieu of any future counseling payments or any other obligations from the Archdiocese.”

Specifically, Caine was replying to several questions that had been sent to him by Inside Baltimore, including the following:

Q. Why did the Archdiocese require her to sign a contract in which she agreed to never seek additional compensation from the Archdiocese or the order of teaching nuns at Archbishop Keough High School in the future? Was it because the Archdiocese fears that the Maryland General Assembly will eventually overturn the statute of limitations on sex abuse crimes against children, which would potentially allow claimants to bring massive lawsuits against the Church?

Q. Was the [money] paid to her actually a matter of “financial risk management” by the Archdiocese?

A troubling answer to those disturbing questions came recently from the nurse’s close friend and cousin, Deborah Silcox, a veteran public school system administrator in Maryland who also attended Archbishop Keough High School during the 1970s.

“I watched Donna go through hell for many years,” said Ms. Silcox. “To this day, I don’t know how she survived the torture she endured – the years of confusion, suffering, mental anguish and brutal anxiety. But she has been healing slowly, and today she is much stronger, much healthier, and much more together than she was in the past. She has a beautiful family and a thriving career as a registered nurse with a master’s degree who now specializes in helping sex-abuse victims and other trauma victims to heal.

“I admire her very much and I am very proud of her.

“As for the settlement with the Archdiocese of Baltimore – isn’t it pretty obvious that the $40,000 they have paid her is designed to protect their pocketbooks against future lawsuits? It’s financial risk management, period.

“The Catholic Church is a business, that’s all. The priests are required to remain celibate so that all of their property will remain in the hands of the Church over time – even though the Church knows full well that a certain percentage of them won’t be able to control their sexual urges and will act out by attacking the children in their charge.

“These victimized children are simply the ‘cost of doing business’ for the Church.
This is how the Church keeps its money within the ‘Corporation’ – by restricting the priesthood to males who are required to remain celibate. Only a few days ago, as reported on the front page of the New York Times [http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/02/world/europe/pope-francis-women-priests.html], the Pope himself said publicly that he believed women would be barred from the priesthood forever.

“I find all of this despicable.”

 

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43 responses

  1. So glad you told your story. People need to know about Maskell’s sex ring at Keough and how the Church covered it up. Back in ’95 when I sued them under the name Jane Roe, many didn’t believe me. Today, together we have a voice. I sincerely hope that your healing journey continues.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Donna, you are a hero. Tom Nugent, thank you for making this public. You are a real champion of justice and integrity. Thank you both for your courage. KEEP ON KEEPING ON.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would like to commend Ms Vondenbosch for her bravery in speaking out and also for her strength to carry on for so many yrs. and not giving up her fight. Am I surprised about the child sexual abuse within the RCC and it’s institutions no! I am enraged by the blind eyes that allow child sexual abuse to happen. Nothing can give a child back their innocence. Children should be listened to and believed. Did the SSND’s know? I believe so. If they didn’t know then shame on them for being blinded. Keough is an all girls school. You can’t tell me that the behavior of students doesn’t change after being raped and abused. Some may become introverts, some may act out wildly in a cry for help. To Ms Vondenbosch and other brave survivors keep telling your true stories in hope that others may come forward to allow some healing to begin. Sincerely, from one survivor to another.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good for Donna but not good for the hundreds upon hundreds of other clergy sexual abuse survivors and the thousands and thousands of childhood sexual abuse survivors. What about the damage for the sexual abusing cop ? If the church cared about this survivor and her loving family members they would not block off court house doors to future evidence of crime and cover-up by the church. [ $40,000 would not cover the medical costs she has incurred to date ]

    Like

    • Understand they do not care. This is something that has been going on in the church and with people in power for centuries. They became very good at keeping things hidden.

      Like

    • Interesting that Caine reports the longstanding practice of the AOB to promote healing for survivors of clergy abuse. No one reached out to Mrs VonDenBosch. She took this on by herself. The church has known about her and others for a very long time. Where was the promotion of healing when the abuse occurred? If the church had spent the same amount of time, money and resources on putting Maskell and Magnus in JAIL as they did covering up their tracks, thousands of lives could have been saved and stayed whole, including Cathy Cesnik. Too little too late. Thank you Donna for your courage and leadership

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you all for your bravery and fortitude. The catholic church is evil incarnate. It has taken me five decades to try to reverse the brainwashing done by the authoritarian monsters of the catholic church. The damage is incalculable – so many are still afraid to talk of their abuse and feel guilty for speaking up. The patterns of using innocent children by confusing them, and by the parents who constantly turn their children over to the church to raise for them is a reality that continues. Escape while you have a chance at life. It’s all a lie to keep you in line – TO BE RAPED!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Q. Why did the Archdiocese require her to sign a contract in which she agreed to never seek additional compensation from the Archdiocese or the order of teaching nuns at Archbishop Keough High School in the future?”

    There is nothing sinister about this clause. It is standard in ALL contracts in which money is paid for alleged personal injury, whether it be from sexual abuse, a motor vehicle accident, medical malpractice, a slip-and-fall, or whatever.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The contract is to protect their coffers from shrinking – period. And this was not “alleged.” The archdiocese admits it happened. This was to try to further silence people – hush money. It is all SINISTER!

      Like

      • Such clauses are to “protect” the “coffers” of the entity/individual making the payment regardless of whether it is the archdiocese, an insurance company, or some other entity or individual. Without such a clause, the payee could return again and again requesting additional money.

        With all due respect, the archdiocese wasn’t there when “it happened.” Unless there are eyewitnesses to, or physical confirmation of, a personal injury, regardless of the nature of said personal injury, then it is “alleged.”

        Liked by 2 people

  7. “He got out and came over to me and started taking my pants down. Then he put his knee between my legs and forced them apart and began raping me. Meanwhile, a second priest – Father [A.] Joseph Maskell, who had been my parish priest before becoming the chaplain at Keough High School and whom I’d known since the age of 12 – stood there looking on as Father Magnus raped me. And then Father Maskell decided to take his turn, and he raped me.”

    With all this sexual activity, why didn’t any of these girls ever become pregnant? Were they asked whether the priests, police officers, etc. paused to put on a condom before raping them?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lee77 – How do you know they didn’t? How do you know whether the gynocologist performed early abortions? Rapists do not take the time to put on a condom! We are talking 1969 – only those who lived through those times can fully understand the magnitude of this!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know that they didn’t [use condoms] and you don’t know that they did. I don’t know if the gynecologist performed early abortions, but neither do you. What I do know is that a woman/girl usually knows if she’s pregnant because there are physical indications. Accordingly, if any of these women were pregnant back then in what you consider the dark ages, they would have known and should be questioned about such as well as other details.

        FYI, I was an adult in 1969 and to me “those times” weren’t that long ago, and from what I read and see on TV today, not all that much different from “these times.”

        Liked by 2 people

    • Such clauses are to “protect” the “coffers” of the entity/individual making the payment regardless of whether it is the archdiocese, an insurance company, or some other entity or individual. Without such a clause, the payee could return again and again requesting additional money.

      With all due respect, the archdiocese wasn’t there when “it happened.” Unless there are eyewitnesses to, or physical confirmation of, a personal injury, regardless of the nature of said personal injury, then it is “alleged.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • The Archdiocese admitted it happened offered an apology (only because they knew this documentary was coming out). Doesn’t matter they will always deny deny deny and hope people believe. Regarding your condom comments – I was a teenager not an adult in 1969, attended Keough and know more than you assume.

        Liked by 1 person

        • If you have inside information, you should share your personal knowledge concerning how your repeatedly sexually-assaulted classmates avoided pregnancy, those “early abortions,” etc.

          Liked by 2 people

              • Your comment is the reason people will not share info with someone like you and why survivors “shut up.” I have been involved with this for 3 years but my conversation is now over with you.

                Liked by 1 person

                • You have been hinting that you know something from the beginning and all you’ve done is waste my time and the time of others reading these posts. I’m not going to beg you for information and I seriously doubt anyone else will either. If you knew anything other than hearsay, you would have revealed it in the beginning.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • Why would you think I would reveal anything to a stranger?? You are not part of this. You are some random person – could be the killer for all I know. You are also very insensitive – work for the church? This is how they treat people who have been wronged.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • What happened to “… my conversation is now over with you”? You come here pretending to be “involved” in this case without providing one scintilla of evidence, which is a good indication such involvement exists only in your mind.

                      I am, and always have been, Episcopalian. A person doesn’t have to “work for the church” to find the figurative crucifixion of individuals for sexual abuse, cover-ups, or whatever, based on nothing more than unsubstantiated allegations, contemptible.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • “You are not part of this. You are some random person”

                      EVERYONE is part of this now.

                      Allegations stemming from Recovered Memories have destroyed a lot of lives and put a lot of innocent people behind bars. When Recovered Memories are part of the equation, anyone and everyone who was ever in the accuser’s life, in any role — and often those who *weren’t* in the accuser’s life — are at risk of being cast as the new villain in their ever-expanding narrative.

                      The public is right to be skeptical of any and all claims based on recovered “memories”, just as they are right to be skeptical of those claim secret knowledge only to become indignant when asked to pony up.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • These people are “defenders of the faith.” They are blind to injustice and seek only to “protect the institution at all costs.” This case has obviously shaken their faith because of the horrendous acts committed. They have no clue and will continue to discredit truth. I feel sorry for their “blind faith.” Nothing will satisfy them. They are afraid to allow them selves to even think any of this is truth.

                      Like

                    • To Anonymous, who boldly stated that I am a “defender of the faith”, I’m not religious – no belief in gods or devils here. And on the contrary, I care deeply about injustice. That is precisely why I can’t bring myself to simply accept such serious claims without evidence, especially when the claims don’t add up.

                      Perhaps you don’t realize how badly these paranoid assumptions damage your credibility. You’re wrong about me; Lee said he is Episcopalian so you seem to be wrong about him. What else and who else are you wrong about?

                      Like

  8. Lee77. Maybe I have one ounce of self respect left in me. Maybe to share such private and personal information in a social media content is beyond my capability. There are many horrors I do not describe in light of caring for my family, and caring for myself. To ask a survivor tp go beyond their personal limits for someone’s curiosity sounds self harming.

    I consider the archdiocese was with me and participated with each act committed against me. These rapes and other atrocities were in their building at the hands of their employees.

    Thank you for your interest in this case.

    Donna Vondenbosch Archbishop Keough Survior

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are people who have gone through horrors as children and teenagers you can’t even imagine and they put it behind them and get on with their lives. The fact you were allegedly sexually molested as a teen doesn’t make you special.

      The problem I have with you and the other alleged victims in this matter is that some of the allegations are preposterous and you either refuse to explain, or haven’t been asked, the difficult questions. For example, you speak of “early abortions,” which make absolutely no sense. Instead of risking repeated pregnancies, why didn’t Maskell have Dr. Richter prescribe the girls contraceptives?

      Concerning the double-rape at the “picnic,” the complainant implies the sex acts took place while the victim and assailant were both standing. Standing sex requires strength, balance and coordination and would be next to impossible unless the two participants were close to the same height. From what I’ve heard, Maskell was a “big bear” of a man.

      Quite frankly, the tales of priests, police officers, gynecologists and nuns (at least one of the “victims” mentioned the presence of a nun) smacks of the Satanic ritual sexual abuse madness that gripped the nation during the 80s and early 90s. Then there’s “Brother Bob,” who sounds like something straight out of “Twin Peaks,” which, coincidentally, was on TV in the early 90s around the time Jean Wehner began to “recover” all those memories.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I truly hope no one u love has to endure what Maskell did to me as a young girl. I never claimed to be special because of my abuse. I hope to stop the abuse which is still going on today. Sharing my story has helped others tell their horror, and it is horror that continues to haunt me daily.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Your reply is precisely what I expected. Instead of answering my questions, you attempt to divert the course of the discussion by whining about what you had to endure, sharing your story and how you’re still haunted by the “horror.” Newsflash: We’ve heard it all before.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Unless you have something productive to offer, I suggest you curtail your attack. Our survivors have no need for people like you in their lives. Your rant is fruitless. You can take it someplace else.

            Liked by 1 person

            • By “productive” you obviously mean if I don’t accept all these absurd claims without question, I should refrain from commenting. All I’m asking is that you answer some simple questions. What’s so difficult about that?

              Liked by 2 people

              • I recommend that none of our survivors, or anyone else for that matter, respond to lee77. No response is a big response. Don’t let this person waste your time. I won’t.

                Liked by 1 person

  9. Lee77 I think you are internet stalking me. Your comments have resemblance of my other internet account. Your interest on attacking me is not unnoted. What is your interest on this topic? Do you have a family? Are you related to Maskell ? Do you work for the AOB? Are you with a mental deficient. Is your emotional IQ on the lower spectrum? Are you 13 yrs old and need a productive hobby? I take by the timeline that you post 10:30 at night and four am the next morning that you are older and of the mentality of move on after you are raped, could you be telling us your a survivor. I don`t think you didn`t move on. That you call your self religious I`m not joining any religion that spells hate as this. I have also noted that out of all the articles you have only commented on mine. There is no difference between my and all the articles.

    Spread love not hate

    Like

  10. Paranoid much? I had never even heard of you until now. I know nothing about your “other internet account” and couldn’t care less.

    Am I not allowed to be interested in a topic simply because I refuse to swallow your allegations hook, line and sinker? You have refused to answer any of my questions, why should I answer yours?

    Instead of spending all your time dwelling on the “horrors” or your alleged abuse, you should be taking a course in English grammar and composition. Everyone makes typos/grammatical errors when typing online, but your comment reads like it was written by a 10-year-old.

    Liked by 2 people

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