Former US Cardinal McCarrick Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Assault

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DEDHAM, Massachusetts — Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a once-powerful American bishop who was expelled from the priesthood for sexual abuse, on Friday married a 16-year-old boy during a nearly 50-year marriage ceremony in Massachusetts. pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting her. Earlier.

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McCarrick, 91, wore a mask and entered suburban Boston’s Dedham District Court hunchbacked on a walker. “You should be ashamed!” shouted a demonstrator.

He did not speak during the hearing, at which the court entered a guilty plea on his behalf, set bail at $5,000, and ordered him to stay away from the victim and have no contact with the minors.

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McCarrick is the only American Catholic cardinal, current or former, to have ever been criminally charged with child sex crimes.

McCarrick’s attorney, Katherine Zimmerl, later said they “look forward to addressing the allegations in court” and would have no other immediate comment.

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The next hearing was fixed for October 28.

McCarrick, who now lives in Ditmer, Missouri, faces three counts of indecent assault and battery on a man over the age of 14, according to court documents. He could still face charges in the case because he was not a resident of Massachusetts and left the state, stopping the clock on the statute of limitations.

“Today’s statement provides hope for the many clergy sexual abuse victims and survivors that justice will prevail, the truth will be told and children will be kept safe,” said Michelle Garabedian, the victim’s lawyer. by clerics.

“My client has shown a lot of courage by coming forward, and he is ready to see this test through to the end,” he said.

past charges

McCarrick’s downfall began in 2017 when a former altar boy came forward to report that the priest groped him when he was a teenager in New York. The following year, the Archdiocese of New York announced that McCarrick had been fired from the ministry after finding the allegation to be “credible and substantiated” and the two dioceses of New Jersey disclosed that they had committed sexual misconduct against him in the past involving adults. claims were settled.

Pope Francis defined McCarrick in 2019 after a Vatican investigation found that he sexually abused minors as well as adults.

A two-year internal investigation into McCarrick found that three decades of bishops, cardinals and popes either underestimated or dismissed reports of sexual misconduct. Correspondence revealed that he repeatedly dismissed the information as rumor and excused it as “goofy”.

The investigative findings released last year placed much of the blame on Pope John Paul II, who appointed McCarrick the archbishop of Washington, DC, despite launching an investigation that McCarrick slept with the seminarians.

Massachusetts case

In the Massachusetts case, officials began investigating McCarrick when the accuser’s attorney, Michelle Garbedian, sent a letter to the district attorney’s office alleging misconduct, according to court records.

The man told authorities during an interview in January that McCarrick was close to his family when he was growing up and that the abuse began when he was a young boy.

The man said that during his brother’s wedding reception at Wellesley College in June 1974 – when he was 16 – McCarrick told him that his father wanted him to speak with McCarrick because the boy was “naughty at home And wasn’t going to church.”

The man said they both went for a walk around the campus and McCarrick groped him before going back to the party. The man said McCarrick also sexually assaulted her in a “coat room type closet” after returning to the reception, officials wrote in the documents.

Reportedly, the man told investigators that before he left the room, McCarrick told him to say “three our fathers and one Hail Mary or it was one our father and three Hail Marys, so God will forgive you for your sins.” can get rid of”.

According to court records, he also described other instances of sexual abuse by McCarrick over the years, including those involving the man when he was an adult. The Associated Press generally does not identify people who report sexual harassment unless they have agreed to be publicly named.

Ordained as a priest in New York City in 1958, McCarrick climbed the church ranks in America and the Vatican leadership despite the apparently common sense that “Uncle Ted”, as he was known, slept with seminarians.

priest scandal

The case against McCarrick and other Catholic clerics is particularly raw in Boston, where the global priestly sexual abuse scandal first came to light.

Reporting by The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team helped uncover the scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002. Reporting revealed how dozens of priests in the archdiocese had molested and raped children for decades, while church higher-ups covered it up and removed the offending pastors. Parish to parish.

A film about the Globe reporting, “Spotlight” won the 2016 Academy Award for Best Picture.

McCarrick became one of the most visible Catholic Church officials in America and even served as a spokesman for fellow American bishops when he called for a “zero” campaign against sexually abusive clergy in 2002. policy of tolerance”.

Cardinal George Pell was convicted of sexual abuse in his native Australia, but his sentence was eventually overruled. And French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin was convicted, but later acquitted of charges he covered for a notorious pedophile priest.

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