Jul 29, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Cardinal McCarrick charged with sexually assaulting teen in 1970s

ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick
Theodore McCarrick in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked in 2019, has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenage boy in the 1970s, AP reports.

Why it matters: McCarrick is the first cardinal in the U.S. to "ever be criminally charged with a sexual crime against a minor," AP notes, citing Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for the man allegedly abused by McCarrick.

Driving the news: Court records, obtained by the Boston Globe, show the charges, which include three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, relate to an incident involving McCarrick and a 16-year-old boy at a wedding reception at Wellesley College in the 1970.

  • The man described McCarrick as a family friend and said he had started abusing him as a child, per AP.

State of play: McCarrick, previously the Archbishop emeritus of Washington, resigned from the College of Cardinals in July 2018 amid multiple allegations of sexual abuse.

  • In February 2019, he was defrocked by Pope Francis after a Vatican investigation found he sexually abused both minors and adults during his decades in the church.
  • Previous civil lawsuits filed by men in New York and New Jersey, alleging that McCarrick abused them as children in the 1970s and '80s, have failed to lead to criminal charges because the statute of limitations had expired, per NBC Boston.

What they're saying: “It takes an enormous amount of courage for a sexual abuse victim to report having been sexually abused to investigators and proceed through the criminal process,” Garabedian told AP.

  • “Let the facts be presented, the law applied, and a fair verdict rendered," he added.
  • Barry Coburn, an attorney for McCarrick, told AP that they “look forward to addressing the case in the courtroom."

What to watch: McCarrick, currently 91 and living in Missouri, is scheduled to be arraigned in Massachusetts on Aug. 26, per NBC Boston.

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