Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is the 87 years old retired Archbishop of Washington, DC. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York on May 31, 1958, and he remained a priest of the archdiocese until his appointment as the Bishop of Metuchen in 1981. He was removed from ministry Wednesday, when church officials announced that he has been credibly accused of sexually abusing a teenager — and that he had faced three earlier allegations of sexual misconduct with adults. As Washington Post reports, his removal Wednesday was particularly shocking to many in the Washington Catholic community, since McCarrick helped shape many of the church’s policies for responding to the sexual abuse crisis.
Patrick Noaker, the attorney for the man who made the accusation against McCarrick, said his client was molested by McCarrick on two separate occasions, once in 1971 and once the following year.
"McCarrick started measuring him, then he unzipped his pants, stuck his hand in and grabbed his genitals," Noaker said. The lawyer said his client, who was about 16 at the time and a student at a Catholic high school in New York, pushed McCarrick away. "One thing he distinctly remembers is that McCarrick told him not to tell anyone about it," Noaker said.
The second alleged incident occurred the following year, again during a fitting for cassocks before the big Christmas Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Noaker said his client was unsure about whether to go, but that McCarrick was not in charge of the fittings. But the future cardinal confronted his client in the bathroom, Noaker said, again molesting his client, sticking his hands down his pants.
"He brushed him away and avoided McCarrick like the plague from then on," Noaker said.
In a statement, McCarrick, who led the Archdiocese of Washington from 2001-2006, said that he learned months ago about the now-adult’s allegation of abuse that was made public Wednesday and that he has “absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse.” While maintaining his innocence, he wrote, “In obedience I accept the decision of The Holy See, that I no longer exercise any public ministry.”
"While saddened and shocked, this archdiocese awaits the final outcome of the canonical process and in the meantime asks for prayers for all involved," the Archdiocese of Washington said in its statement. Under church law, McCarrick has the right to appeal his case to the Vatican. Because of the statute of limitations in New York, secular law does not apply.
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