Fr. Michael Barnes


Ordained: 1975
Status: Convicted
Died: 05/20/2017
Diocese: Archdiocese of Baltimore MD

In June 2009, a lawsuit was filed against the Baltimore Archdiocese in Delaware alleging that Father Michael Barnes had sexually abused a boy from 1977 to 1982 while serving at St. Clare School in Essex. The abuse took place in the rectory and on trips outside of the state, and involved the use of alcohol.

Baltimore contacted the plaintiff in 2002 after a review of files; Father Michael Barnes denied the abuse. He contacted them in 2003 but refused counseling/mediation. Barnes left the priesthood in 1988 and was later arrested in North Carolina in October 2009 on charges of abusing the same boy.

He was extradited to Maryland in February 2010 and pleaded no contest in June of that year. Father Michael Barnes was sentenced to six months in jail, and the civil case was settled for $50,000 in August 2010. He was laicized in 2013 and died in 2017.

According to the Maryland Attorney General’s Report released on April 5, 2023, there were indications of issues with Barnes during his time in the seminary, as well as multiple leaves of absence and treatment during his priesthood. A woman reported to the Archdiocese at one point that Barnes was having young men and boys sleep over in the rectory, and her husband informed the Attorney General in 2021 that the Archdiocese had sent a “monk” to speak to his wife, who then told her it would cost the Archdiocese money. A note in Barnes’ file described the woman as “dangerous.” After leaving the priesthood, Barnes volunteered at a parish in Jessup until 2002 and was employed at a parish in D.C. until 2009.