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Cardinal McCarrick removed from ministry amid teen sex abuse allegations

Pope Francis reaches out to hug Cardinal Archbishop emeritus Theodore McCarrick after the Midday Prayer of the Divine with more than 300 U.S. Bishops, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. (Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via AP)

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, has been removed from ministry after an allegation he sexually abused a teen 50 years ago while serving as a priest in the Archdiocese of New York.

The Archdiocese of New York found the “the allegations credible and substantiated,” according to a statement on the Archdiocese of Washington website. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York investigated.

“The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the direction of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is to refrain from any public ministry or activity until a definite decision is made,” the statement said.

“Cardinal McCarrick, while maintaining his innocence, has accepted the decision.”

This statement was posted on the site by McCarrick, 87, who served as D.C.’s archbishop from 2001 to 2006:

While shocked by the report, and while maintaining my innocence, I considered it essential that the charges be reported to the police, thoroughly investigated by an independent agency, and given to the Review Board of the Archdiocese of New York. I fully cooperated in the process.

My sadness was deepened when I was informed that the allegations had been determined credible and substantiated.

In obedience I accept the decision of The Holy See, that I no longer exercise any public ministry.

I realize this painful development will shock my many friends, family members, and people I have been honored to serve in my sixty-years as a priest.

While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people.

Statements from the Archdiocese of Newark (New Jersey) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen (New Jersey) said they had never received any accusations of McCarrick abusing a minor during his earlier assignments.

However, both statements said there have been allegations that McCarrick engaged in sexual behavior with adults.

According to Cardinal Joseph Tobin, of the Archdiocese of Newark, “This Archdiocese and the Diocese of Metuchen received three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements.”

McCarrick served as bishop of Metuchen from 1982 to 1986 and archbishop of Newark from 1986 until his appointment in Washington.

The Archdiocese of Washington statement says it is “saddened and shocked” and asks for “prayers for all involved.”

The archdiocese also said: “At the same time, we renew our commitment to care for the victims who have suffered abuse, to prevent abuse before it occurs, and to identify and report child abuse once it has happened.”

McCarrick was ordained to the priesthood in 1958 in New York City. He served as dean of students at The Catholic University of America in D.C. In 1965, he became the president of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. He was installed as the Archbishop of Washington in January 2001 and seven weeks later was elected to the College of Cardinals, according to his biography on the archdiocese website. As archbishop, he served as chancellor of The Catholic University of America and president of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.


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