2003 file photo of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in the Vatican.PAOLO COCCO / AFP
Former US cardinal Theodore McCarrick, expelled from the clergy in February 2019 by the Vatican for pedophilia, was accused this past Wednesday of sexual abuse of a 16-year-old in 1974 during a wedding at the University of Wellesley (Massachusetts), according to reported exclusively from
The Boston Globe.
It is the first high-ranking official in the Catholic Church in the United States to face criminal charges for this type of accusation. His case caused in the summer of 2018 one of the biggest crises in the recent history of the religious institution.
McCarrick, 91, Archbishop of Washington from 2000 to 2006, was a highly respected figure within the Church, fraternizing with Popes and world leaders, until allegations implicating him in the sexual abuse scandal were made public in 2018. . The expunged, who currently lives in Missouri, must appear next August 26 in the court of Dedham, a town southwest of Boston (Massachusetts).
To date, McCarrick appeared to be shielded from civilian courts, as men who alleged abuse as minors between the 1970s and 1990s had brought their cases before courts in New York and New Jersey. But on those cases there is a statute of limitations for the crime, which prevents the judicial authorities from imputing the former cardinal. However, according to the Boston newspaper, McCarrick can be accused of alleged sexual abuse in Wellesley, since he never had his residence in Massachusetts, so the statute of limitations for the crime stopped counting days when he left that northeastern US state. USA
The name of the victim has not been made public and his case was opened in January by prosecutors from various locations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. According to statements to
The Boston Globe
made by Mitchell Garabedian, the victim's attorney, his client is showing "great courage in being the plaintiff in a criminal proceeding." Garabedian stated that his client wants to remain anonymous and the newspaper that broke the news never identifies alleged victims of sexual abuse without their consent.
According to the lawyer, McCarrick was a friend of his client's family and began abusing him as a child. On June 8, 1974, the alleged victim, who was then 16 years old, was at his brother's wedding in Wellesley when the former cardinal told him that he wanted to have a private conversation with him at the request of his father, since his behavior in House was not very good and he did not go to mass, as he has related. After the talk, both returned to the celebration when McCarrick, always according to the complainant, took him to a small room, closed the curtains and began to caress his genitals while he began to pray to sanctify him. Before leaving the room,the man to whom Pope Francis restored his lay state told the young man to pray "three Our Fathers and a Hail Mary or perhaps an Our Father and three Hail Marys" so that God would redeem the young man from his sins.
In his account to the police, the plaintiff states that his father asked him how the conversation with McCarrick had gone, recommended that he listen to the priest and do whatever he told him because he was "really going to help him."
In 2018, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the body that judges these matters within the Catholic Church, found McCarrick guilty of abuse of minors and adults with the aggravating circumstance of abuse of power, for which it imposed the sentence of reduction to the secular state.
McCarrick (New York, 1930) was ordained a cardinal by John Paul II and participated in the April 2005 conclave in which Benedict XVI was elected pontiff.
In the next one, where Francisco was appointed, he was already more than 80 years old and could not vote.
The reduction to the secular state is the harshest penalty contemplated by canon law and the former cardinal is the highest ranking religious in the recent history of the Catholic Church on whom it has been imposed.