Former Newark bishop Theodore McCarrick charged in sexual assault of 16-year-old boy

A summons has been issued ordering the former Archbishop of Newark to appear at the court for arraignment Aug. 26 in Dedham District Court in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, to face criminal charges for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy nearly 50 years ago.

Defrocked former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who is now living in Missouri, was charged with sexually assaulting the boy during a wedding reception at Wellesley College in the 1970s, making him the highest-ranking Roman Catholic official in the United States to face criminal charges in the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Barry Coburn, an attorney for McCarrick, told The Associated Press that they “look forward to addressing the case in the courtroom,” and declined further comment.

McCarrick, 91, a former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who fraternized with popes and presidents before he was expelled from the priesthood over sexual abuse allegations, is charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 in a criminal complaint filed by Wellesley Police in Dedham District Court.

McCarrick was charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 in a criminal complaint filed by Wellesley Police in Dedham District Court and obtained by the Boston Globe.

McCarrick, who is a former archbishop of Washington, D.C., the highest-ranking Catholic official in the country to face criminal charges for sex abuse.

A prolific fundraiser who was connected to prominent politicians and was once considered a power broker in Washington, D.C., McCarrick was made a cardinal in February 2001 and served as Archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006.

Following credible allegations of repeated sexual misconduct towards children and seminarians, he was removed from public ministry in June 2018, became the first cardinal to resign from the College of Cardinals because of claims of sexual abuse in July 2018.

“The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful,” said Pope Francis, in an order dictating policy for addressing sexual misconduct. “In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church…”

After a Church investigation and trial, he was found guilty of sexual crimes against adults and minors and abuse of power and laicized or dismissed from the clergy in February 2019.

A 449-page report was issued detailing the investigation’s findings by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Vatican, who said: “We publish the Report with sorrow for the wounds that these events have caused to the victims, their families, the Church in the United States, and the Universal Church.”

After McCarrick had been credibly accused by one minor, and as news spread, a second minor victim accused him of sexual abuse and others then came forward to report McCarrick’s misconduct, after which the Holy See undertook an active search for more victims and witnesses to possible sexual misconduct.

As part of its overall response to a grand jury investigation conducted by the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey, a review of church records revealed that, prior to the Summer of 2018, the Diocese of Metuchen had received reports regarding the allegations against McCarrick made by at least four priests.

A report commissioned by Seton Hall University, which remains confidential but was made available to the Holy See, identified “inappropriate” conduct by McCarrick when he was Archbishop of Newark, including the sharing of beds with seminarians at the beach house. That report found no evidence that McCarrick made sexual advances while in bed with seminarians, or engaged in any sexual contact with anyone on the university campus.

The Archdiocese of Newark engaged a law firm to help it comply with the grand jury investigation, including a subpoena requesting information relating to any identifiable criminal activity from 1940 to the present.

As part of that examination of records responsive to the subpoena, records were searched for anything relating to allegations of sexual misconduct by McCarrick.

In late 2018, Cardinal Dolan engaged a law firm to investigate whether the Archdiocese of New York had been aware of any allegations of sexual abuse committed by McCarrick, but the law firm’s report identified no evidence that anyone in the leadership of the Archdiocese was aware that the former cardinal sexually abused minors.

That investigation did determine that Cardinal Egan, the former Archbishop of New York, was aware of lawsuits filed in 2005 and 2007 by a New Jersey priest alleging that McCarrick had “slept with several Newark Archdiocesan seminarians when he was Archbishop of Newark.”

In August 2019, one of his victims alleged in a lawsuit that, in approximately 1988, the victim (then an adult) was introduced by McCarrick to Pope John Paul II in Rome, after which McCarrick left the room and the victim told the Pope that McCarrick had been sexually abusing him since he was a young child.

The Archdiocese of Newark did not comment on the charges against McCarrick, but it said it will investigate the possibility of clerical sexual misconduct, after The Pillar published a story asserting it found evidence that both homosexual and heterosexual hookup apps were used in more than 10 archdiocesan rectories and clerical residences during 2018, 2019, and 2020.

After the McCarrick scandal broke in 2018, Newark Archbishop Cardinal Joseph Tobin pledged to implement reform efforts in the archdiocese, ordered a review of seminary culture and took other measures.

Tobin also ordered a review of the former archbishop’s alleged financial improprieties, which he said will be reported to the public after an ongoing attorney general’s investigation in New Jersey has concluded.

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