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Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, speaking here at the U.S. Bishop fall general assembly in 2014, has been a prominent liberal voice in the U.S. Church.Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews

July 29, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Ex-cardinal and defrocked priest Theodore McCarrick has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenager in the 1970’s and will now appear in criminal court August 26 to answer the three counts of indecent assault and battery — a fate he had so far avoided.

The Boston Globe revealed that the disgraced ex-cardinal was charged July 28 with “sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception at Wellesley College in the 1970s.”

In papers filed by Wellesley Police in Dedham District Court and seen by the Globe, McCarrick has been charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14. As a result, the ex-cardinal has now been summoned to appear in court on August 26 to answer the charges.

The alleged victim stated to the investigators that McCarrick was a friend of the family, who began molesting him when still a boy. McCarrick reportedly even accompanied the family on trips, and, according to a report filed by Wellesley Police Detective Christopher Connelly, the ex-cardinal “sexually abused” the boy “in New Jersey, New York, California, and Massachusetts.”

McCarrick accused of abusing boy at Massachusetts wedding

One incident described in detail reportedly occurred on June 8, 1974, when the alleged victim was aged 16 and attending his brother’s wedding reception at Wellesley College, Massachusetts.

McCarrick allegedly told the victim that the boy’s father wished them to “have a talk” over behavioral issues and poor attendance at Church. The alleged victim claimed that McCarrick then “groped his genitals when they were walking around the campus,” before McCarrick took the boy into a room.

There the now ex-cardinal “closed the blinds, and told him ‘that he needed to go to confession.’ He then fondled his genitals while ‘saying prayers to make me feel holy,’ according to the report.”

After this, McCarrick appeared to give the boy a penance, with the report documenting McCarrick ordering the boy to “say three our fathers and a Hail Mary or it was one our father and three Hail Marys, so God can redeem you of your sins.”

The boy’s father reportedly told his son to “do what he tells you, he’s really going to help you,” in reference to McCarrick.

According to the report, the alleged victim stated he was aware of McCarrick’s true intentions, but “didn’t want to make a scene at his brother’s wedding and disturb everything because he had more respect for his mother, father and brother than himself at the time.”

This was not the last occasion on which McCarrick is reported to have abused the boy, however. The alleged victim detailed subsequent incidents of sexual abuse “in Arlington and at hotels in Newton.”

Four photographs of postcards sent from McCarrick to the boy, along with a photograph of McCarrick at the wedding, have also been reportedly provided by the alleged victim.

A historic case, as McCarrick is finally charged

The ex-cardinal is being represented by prominent defense attorney Barry Coburn described as “one of America’s premier defense lawyers.” Coburn’s website notes how he “currently represents former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in numerous federal and New Jersey pending cases, as well as another cleric, accused of sexual assault, pending trial in Virginia.”

Coburn informed the Associated Press that he and McCarrick “look forward to addressing the case in the courtroom.”

Meanwhile, the claimant is represented by renowned sexual abuse attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has a long history of obtaining over $100 million in settlements for hundreds of victims of clerical sexual abuse. Garabedian launched the current investigation in January 2021, writing a letter to the Norfolk and Middlesex counties district attorneys.

“This is the first cardinal in the United States ever charged criminally for a sexual offense against a minor,” stated Garabedian.

While a number of civil lawsuits have been filed against 91-year-old McCarrick by men in New Jersey and New York over sexual abuse claims dating from the 1970s to the 1990s, McCarrick has avoided any criminal charges, due to the statute of limitations having expired.

During the time period of this current allegation, McCarrick was based in New York as the secretary to Cardinal Terence Cooke. Three years after the chief incident of alleged abuse, McCarrick was appointed as auxiliary bishop in New York in 1977.

According to the Globe, the current address given for McCarrick in the court papers is the Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer, Missouri. However, the Globe actually originally linked to the St. John Vianney Center in Pennsylvania.

The St. John Vianney Center is a “behavioral health treatment center,” with the aim of “restoring one’s physical, behavioral and spiritual wellbeing for a return to ministry.”

LifeSiteNews first rang the Pennsylvania Center to enquire if McCarrick was indeed there, but was told by a female member of staff that she could “neither confirm nor deny if anyone is here,” before she promptly hung up the phone.

Following later communication with the Globe, the Globe stated they had made a mistake with the hyperlink, clarifying that the correct link was indeed the Vianney Center in Missouri (the report has since been corrected).

LifeSite then rang the Vianney Center in Dittmer multiple times to ask if McCarrick was indeed there, but was unable to reach anyone.

McCarrick had formerly been living at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, with the permission of the local bishop. However, his house was attached to the Basilica of St. Fidelis, which is right next door to Victoria Elementary School and only five blocks from Victoria High School. The school principal informed local media that she was not informed of his presence until she read of it in media reports.

History of sexual abuse

McCarrick was laicized by the Vatican in February of 2019 with no possibility for appeal, having found him guilty of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

McCarrick rose through the episcopal ranks, becoming bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, in 1981, archbishop of Newark in 1986, and archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2000. Pope John Paul created him a cardinal in 2001.

It was in the early 1970s, while serving as a priest in New York City, that McCarrick is alleged to have groped an adolescent altar boy in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was that accusation which launched the internal investigation by Church authorities.

In June 2018, the Archdiocese of New York announced that allegations that McCarrick molested an underage altar boy decades ago had been deemed “credible and substantiated.”

At the time of the accusations, McCarrick maintained he had “absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse and believe in my innocence.”

Since then, other alleged victims including former seminarians and priests have come forward to detail the sexual abuse to which McCarrick subjected them. McCarrick’s most well-known victim, James Grein, has also come forward and said McCarrick abused him for years starting when he was 11 years old.

Former Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò issued an explosive 11-page testimony in 2019, stating that Pope Francis and senior officials in the Vatican, knew of McCarrick’s conduct. Viganò wrote that McCarrick, acting as the Pope’s “trusted counselor,” helped him in key appointments in the United States, including that of Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, whom Pope Francis has tasked with organizing the upcoming Vatican summit on clerical sexual abuse.

Late last year, the long awaited and lengthy McCarrick Report was released, presenting some details of the disgraced ex-prelate’s rise to power in the Church, but also seeking to blame Archbishop Viganò for the affair. Viganò responded by describing the report as presenting “unfounded accusations” against him.