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Theodore McCarrick faces new civil sex abuse lawsuit

Matt Hadro   By Matt Hadro for CNA

Theodore McCarrick (Image: U.S. Institute of Peace / CC BY NC 2.0)

Washington D.C., Jul 31, 2021 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick now faces a fifth civil sex abuse lawsuit in New Jersey, after he was criminally charged in a Massachusetts district court this week for sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

On Thursday, a lawsuit was filed in a New Jersey court accusing McCarrick of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in 1986, first reported. The civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of the plaintiff by Jeffrey Anderson, a prominent attorney who represents sex abuse victims.

McCarrick’s attorney Barry Coburn told CNA in a statement on Saturday, “We will look forward to addressing this case in the courtroom.”

The new lawsuit follows McCarrick’s first criminal charges, which were filed on Wednesday by Wellesley, Massachusetts police in the state’s Dedham District Court. That complaint included three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14, alleged to have been committed against a 16-year-old male in 1974.

McCarrick, now 91, is scheduled to appear in the Massachusetts court for his arraignment, to formally answer the charges, on Sept. 3. He was the first U.S. cardinal to be criminally charged with sex abuse of a minor.

In 2018, he became the most notable Church figure at the center of sex abuse allegations. In June of that year, the Archdiocese of New York announced that an allegation of sexual abuse against McCarrick from nearly 50 years prior was found to be “credible and substantiated.” The New York Times later reported accusations of McCarrick’s having sexually abused two boys decades earlier, while he was a priest.

More reports then surfaced of McCarrick’s abuse, grooming, and harassment of seminarians from over the decades, and McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals in July 2018. Pope Francis sentenced him to a life of prayer and penance that month following the public allegations.

The pope laicized McCarrick in February 2019 after the Vatican conducted an expedited investigation and found him guilty of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

According to the lawsuit filed Thursday in New Jersey, McCarrick sexually abused a boy in 1986, while he was “an agent and representative of Defendant Archdiocese of Newark.”

McCarrick was installed as Archbishop of Newark on July 25, 1986. He had served in New Jersey as Bishop of Metuchen since 1981, and before that as auxiliary bishop of the neighboring New York archdiocese since 1977.

A summary of the criminal complaint against McCarrick this week in Massachusetts alleged that he abused the victim in several states – in New Jersey, New York, California, and Massachusetts.

In an allegation shared in the summary report – from which the criminal charges stem –  McCarrick sexually assaulted the then-16-year-old victim at his brother’s wedding reception at Wellesley College. Immediately following the alleged abuse, McCarrick instructed the victim to say prayers “so god can redeem you of your sins.”

The criminal sex abuse charges were the first to be filed against McCarrick. Although allegations of sexual abuse and harassment against him were made public in 2018, he had not yet been charged criminally due to the statutes of limitations in states where he was alleged to have committed abuse.

Some states, including New York and New Jersey, have since 2018 begun suspending the statutes of limitations for civil lawsuits in old cases of child sex abuse; stricter time limits still apply to criminal cases of sex abuse, however.

As McCarrick was not a Massachusetts resident, however, and left the state before the statute of limitations expired, the time limits for criminal charges of sex abuse to be filed did not apply in his case.

After the time window opened in New Jersey for new civil lawsuits in old cases of child sex abuse, two lawsuits naming McCarrick and New Jersey dioceses were promptly filed in state courts in December 2019. The two lawsuits alleged that McCarrick sexually assaulted two males while he served as bishop of Metuchen and archbishop of Newark; McCarrick allegedly committed some acts of abuse at cathedral rectories, according to the lawsuits.

One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits was James Grein, who said he was abused by McCarrick, a family friend, beginning at age 11 while McCarrick was a priest in the New York archdiocese. The abuse allegedly continued while McCarrick bishop of Metuchen and archbishop of Newark. Grein was also the subject of a July 2018 New York Times story that published his decades-old abuse allegations against McCarrick.

In a canonical deposition by the Archdiocese of New York in December of 2018, Grein reportedly said that McCarrick abused him during confession.

In another lawsuit filed against McCarrick in 2020, Jeffrey Anderson alleged that McCarrick sexually abused a boy and aided his abuse by several other priests and characterized McCarrick as leading a “sex ring.”

After he was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance in 2018, McCarrick resided at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad. In January 2020, he was reported to have moved to an undisclosed location on his own accord.

The criminal complaint filed this week listed his residence at an address matching that of the Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer, Missouri. The center is a treatment facility run by the Servants of the Paraclete, which, according to its website, provides “a safe and supportive environment for the rehabilitation and reconciliation of priests and religious brothers.”

This article was updated on July 31 with a statement from McCarrick’s attorney.

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  1. If it is truthful that the Vatican has indeed laicized McCarrick as they claim, why is he entitled to a residence at a Church-affiliated facility operated by the Servants of the Paraclete? Is this a possibility for all laymen found guilty of sexual abuse? Or is this yet another occasion where the Church is pretending to do something by the words spoken but its actions belie the facts? If so, this is not what Christ expects of us. My favorite mottos these days are: “Live by the truth but never at the sake of charity” and “Charity without truth is no charity at all.”

  2. All this means is that ONE of the homosexual bishops who have caused most of the trouble in the church was caught. The rest remain active, whittling away at the substance of the church the way they have been doing for decades. There may be very little left by the time they are done. The secret networks of homosexual bishops remain in place, in fact, they have been elevated to the Pope’s most trusted advisors.

    • And the natural and inevitable repercussions of the IDEOLOGY OF HOMOSEXUALITY (and it is an ideology, not a biological state) a tolerance for or outright support for abortion continues among many of our prelates. Life itself can be regarded as inconvenient when unrestricted sex is regarded as a right. It is as meaningful a fact that 98 percent of gays support abortion as it is that most who endlessly argue about “gay rights” ignore the meaning of this fact. Whether individual prelates are gay or not, many share a perverse and false understanding of calumny, so false it creates more calumny through their continuous exercise of moral cowardice.
      Scandal is an opportunity for Catholics to take their divinely endowed mandate to preach natural law to the world, that right is right no matter who or how many are wrong, and wrong is wrong no matter who or how few are right. They should be draining their own swamp. Instead our prelates fumble every opportunity God gives them, and a genuine prophet among them, Archbishop Vigano, is pushed to the side.

    • The not-so-secret network of homosexual bishops has been elevated by Bergoglio. I think it is high time to dispense with polite fictions, such as the one that Bergoglio claims he was never informed by Vigano of McCarrick’s notorious homosexual predation.

    • Exactly! Good points. I also wondered about the almost exclusive focus on McCarrick, as if dealing with him addresses and solves the problem. Sadly, he’s probably just the tip of the iceberg.

  3. For over 50 years, Theodore McCarrick shaped the US Church into the counterfeit, ugly and maimed institution that stands today. Beginning with his first grand-scale subversion with 1967 Land of Lakes Statement (which has resulted in 90% of 200 formerly “Catholic” universities rejecting the teaching authority of the Church), through his deceit in the infamous Canon 915 lie, where he (and “His Excellency” Wilton Gregory) lied about and witheld the letter of Cardinal Ratzinger, deceitfully confecting the long-established and still current US Church Bishops’ Conference policy of disobeying Canon 915 and giving communion to abortion-promoting Catholic politicians (link to an account below); through to the revelation of their pervasive subculture of sex abuse and criminal coverup and their mafiosi-style policy of “Omerta” (silence), first revealed by the good Governor Keating in 2003-04.

    Today, the faithful in the Church are held hostage by the counterfeit, impoverished and paralyzing parasitic cult confected by the sociopath McCarrick and his friends (Gregory, Cupich, Dolan, Mahoney, Joe Tobin, McElroy etc etc etc).

    Perhaps the recent opening of criminal and civil cases against McCarrick may result in depositions and other evidence that exposes the pathology of these men, and liberates faithful Catholic people from the abusive, viceroy mafiosi, leading to a real reform, modeled around “The Good Shepherd,” instead of His enemies.

  4. What Samton asserts is indicatively true. And the rationale for the deviant bishop to destroy orthodoxy is to appease his wilted conscience.

  5. Isn’t it an offence punishable by excommunication for a priest to absolve someone he himself has committed illicit acts with? Shouldn’t McCarrick have been excommunicated for that? Can someone knowledgable on Canon Law please comment on this?

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