Cardinal Theodore E McCarrick
Archdiocese of New York
Assigned as follows:
- 1959-1966: Archdiocese of New York Serving Outside the Diocese Special Assignments, Catholic University (Washington, D.C.)
- 1967-1969: Archdiocese of New York Serving Outside the Diocese Special Assignments (Catholic University of Puerto Rico (Ponce)
- 1970-1971: Blessed Sacrament (New York, NY)
- 1972-1977: Cathedral of St. Patrick (New York, NY)
- 1978-1980: St. Francis De Sales (New York, NY)
- 1978-1981: Auxiliary Bishop Archdiocese of New York
- 1981: The New York Foundling Hospital (New York, NY)
- 1982-1986: Bishop of Metuchen
- 1987-2000: Archbishop of Newark
- 1989-2000: Sacred Heart Cathedral (Newark, NJ)
- 2001-2006: Cardinal Archbishop of Washington
- 2006-2018: Retired (Washington, D.C.); US Conference of Catholic Bishops
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Cardinal Theodore E McCarrick:
Cardinal Theodore E McCarrick held various leadership positions throughout his career. He was once considered the most powerful Catholic priest in America. McCarrick was also the Archbishop of Newark, founding bishop of Metuchen, and auxiliary bishop of New York. In late 2000, Pope John Paul II appointed McCarrick Archbishop of Washington and he was elevated to Cardinal in 2001. He was the priest “Meet the Press” talked to about the sexual abuse crisis. McCarrick also participated at the funerals of Ted Kennedy, Beau Biden, Tim Russert, and William Rehnquist.
According to media reports, in June 2018, the Archdiocese of New York substantiated allegations that McCarrick sexually abused a 16-year-old altar boy when he was a priest in New York and Cardinal Cooke’s personal secretary in the 1970s. Pope Francis quickly removed him from public ministry. Though he claimed his innocence, in July 2018, McCarrick resigned from his position as a cardinal, making him the first cardinal to ever resign over sexual abuse allegations.
The pope ordered him to live in seclusion, prayer, and penitence. He was transferred to a friary in a remote, small town in Victoria, Kansas. The town, one of the only places that would accept Cardinal McCarrick is near a Catholic school. Parishioners were shocked but assured by Church officials that no one, including their children would ever see the priest.
It has been reported that some in the church hierarchy had known about accusations brought against McCarrick for decades. He had three prior allegations of sexual misconduct made against him in Newark and Metuchen. There were settlements in two of the cases. In July 2018, a man said that McCarrick abused him for 20 years, beginning in 1969 when he was 11 years old.
The alleged victim was the first baby that the priest baptized. When he brought him to meet Pope John Paul II in 1988, the man said that in the presence of several Vatican officials, he had been sexually abusing him since childhood.
“I told him I had been abused as a child by this man, and I need you to stop it,” he said. “He put both hands on my head, and told me he would pray for me.”
No other action was taken. In October 2018, the Vatican ordered a new investigation. In July 2019, under the Child Victims Act, the man filed a lawsuit.
In January 2019, McCarrick was laicized amid an investigation of a third allegation. Several priests and ex-priests have reportedly come forward alleging McCarrick used his authority to force them to sleep with him when they were adult seminarians studying for the priesthood. All four U.S. dioceses where he served, New York, Metuchen, Newark, and Washington, DC, have launched independent investigations.
In April 2019, McCarrick’s name appeared on the Archdiocese of New York’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. Claims against him are eligible to be settled through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP).
McCarrick retired from ministry in 2006, after being a priest for 60 years.
UPDATE: On July 29, 2021, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was criminally charges with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 years old. The complaint was filed by Wellesley Policy in Dedham District Court. According to the alleged victim, McCarrick had been friends with a member of his family. The alleged victim described multiple incidents of abuse by McCarrick, most of which took place outside of Massachusetts in New Jersey, New York and California. One incident reportedly occurred in Wellesley, Massachusetts, in June 1974 at the victim’s brother’s wedding, where the victim said McCarrick allegedly pulled him aside and told him, “Your dad wants you to come with me and have a talk. You’re being mischievous at home and not attending church. We need to go outside and have a conversation,” according to the complaint. The victim told investigators that McCarrick told him to take down his pants and then held and “kissed” his genitalia “saying prayers to make me feel holy.” After telling him to pull up his pants, McCarrick allegedly told the boy to say certain prayers “so God can redeem you of your sins.” The complaint states that the victim told investigators that McCarrick repeatedly sexually abused him over the years, including when he was an adult, with abuse that also allegedly took place in nearby Newton, Massachusetts when he was older.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of New York. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest or other Catholic clergy in New York State, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of New York now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help.