Sexual Abuse Charges Have Been Leveled Against a Defrocked US Cardinal
A Defrocked US Cardinal has been charged with sexual assault.
Former US cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been charged with sexually assaulting a young boy, according to court documents published Thursday, making him the most senior Roman Catholic figure in America to face criminal charges in the clergy abuse scandal.
The 91-year-old former archbishop of Washington DC was charged with three counts of indecent assault and abuse against a youth above the age of 14 in a petition filed in a Massachusetts district court.
McCarrick was dismissed from the Catholic Church in 2019, making him the highest-ranking Church figure ever to be purged.
He was found guilty by the Vatican in the 1970s of sexually assaulting at least one adolescent boy, as well as sexual misconduct with adult male seminarians.
McCarrick was removed of his cardinalship in 2018 and his priesthood the following year, despite his role in procuring funds for the Holy See from wealthy American donors.
According to a 450-page Vatican assessment issued in 2020, despite years of sexual misconduct allegations, McCarrick was allowed to climb through the ranks of the Church.
The Vatican disclosed in November that the late Pope John Paul II ignored advice not to elevate McCarrick because of sexual assault charges that were later proven to be genuine.
According to authorities, McCarrick reportedly molested the victim when he was 16 years old in 1974 while walking around the Wellesley College campus in Massachusetts for his brother’s wedding celebration.
McCarrick allegedly led the victim into a room and grabbed his genitals while “citing prayers,” according to the criminal complaint.
Multiple legal lawsuits have been brought against the ex-cardinal, but this is the first criminal prosecution against him.
The man’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said his client was “showing a tremendous deal of courage” by submitting the lawsuit.
“This is the first cardinal in the United States ever charged criminally for a sexual act against a child,” he said in a statement to AFP.
McCarrick’s lawyer, Barry Coburn, told AFP he and his client “look forward to addressing the case in court.”
A string of child sex abuse scandals have shaken the Catholic Church in recent years.
The Church’s systematic cover-up of sexual abuse by “more than 300 predator priests” was discovered by a grand jury inquiry into Pennsylvania dioceses in 2018.
Over 1,000 youngsters have been identified as victims.
Between 1950 and 2016, the US Catholic Church received 18,500 complaints against 6,700 members of the clergy, according to the website bishop-accountability.org.
In the United States, several top members of the church. News from Washington Newsday in a nutshell.