The episode is “over 45 years old” and the victim was 16 at the time of the events. Theodore McCarrick, 87, says he does not remember the episode and is found innocent, but obeys the suspension decreed by the Vatican.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 87, was suspended from his ministry on Wednesday on charges of sexual abuse of a minor. The episode took place “over 45 years ago” and was considered “credible and substantiated” by an independent agency. Earlier, the same cardinal was accused of sexual misconduct against three adults.
Theodore McCarrick, a former archbishop of New York and an officially reformed Washington, has since Wednesday been prevented by the Vatican from pursuing the ministry. The cardinal still traveled the world as a negotiator and defender of human rights. At the center of the decision of the Holy See will be the accusation of sexual abuse to an adolescent, at the age of 16 at the time of the events.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Diocese of New York, who received these “over 45” accusations, revised “carefully” in light of the Charter on the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted in 2002 by the US bishops after the pedophilia scandal involving the Boston diocese . An “independent agency” was charged with conducting an “exhaustive inquiry” with results transmitted to a commission that found the charges “credible and substantiated,” Dolan said.
The victim, now 60, only revealed what happened because he was protected by the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. Created in 2016, this program is charged with reviewing cases of alleged abuse by clergy members and compensating the victims, defense counsel Patrick Noaker told the Washignton Post . The case became known on Wednesday, the same day the Vatican suspended the cardinal.
McCarrick said in a statement that he has only heard the case for “a few months” and “has no memory of abuse.” Nevertheless, he accepts the decision of the Vatican: “In obedience, I accept the decision of the Holy See and I will not perform any public ministry.” But “it retains its innocence,” reads the document. He is shocked by the accusations and saddened to have been judged “credible and substantiated”: “Even though I have no history of abuses, and believing in my innocence, I am devastated by the enduring suffering of the person who made the accusations and by the scandal they caused.”
The Washington archdiocese has issued a statement confirming this information. He added that McCarrick was barred from pursuing his ministry while awaiting a “final decision”. Neither the diocese of Washington nor the diocese of New York gave details of the complaint that gave rise to this suspension.
McCarrick is unlikely to be convicted because New York state law does not allow child victims of sexual abuse to file complaints after they turn 23, the Washington Post explains .
The indictment was met with shock in the Washignton community. McCarrick was one of the driving force behind the sexual abuse crisis response policies in the diocese.
Already in Newark, New Jersey, the answer was different. Joseph Tobi, also a cardinal, recalled three other cases of sexual misconduct involving adults who involved McCarrick. Two of those charges resulted in extrajudicial accords, the cardinal said, without giving further details. “The crisis of abuses in our Church is devastating. We can not undo what has been done, but we must continue to act with vigilance, “he said , quoted by Le Monde .