New lawsuit: McCarrick, Catholic priests ran ‘sex ring’ from Jersey Shore beach house
NEWARK, New Jersey, July 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A lawyer for a man who has accused Theodore McCarrick and other priests of child sex assault has declared that the now-infamous former cardinal ran a “sex ring” from his beach house.
On Tuesday night the man, known only as Doe 14, filed a suit against Theodore McCarrick and others at New Jersey Superior Court in Middlesex County. McCarrick’s former dioceses of Metuchen and Newark, as well as Catholic churches and schools that employed priests Doe 14 says also abused him were also named.
The civil action claims that a Father Anthony DiNardo had “unpermitted sexual contact” with Doe 14 in “approximately 1978” when the boy was an 11-year-old parishioner and altar server at St. Francis Xavier Church in Newark, NJ.
Doe 14 was then allegedly groomed and assaulted by his East Orange school principal, Brother Andrew Thomas Hewitt, C.F.C., when the boy was approximately between the ages of 14 and 16, approximately between 1981 and 1983.
According to his lawyer Jeff Anderson, when Doe 14’s future at Essex Catholic Boys’ School became unsure in 1982, thanks to problems paying tuition, Hewitt allegedly told the boy that he would have to speak to “the Boss,” i.e. the recently appointed Bishop of Metuchen, Theodore McCarrick.
Hewitt allegedly brought Doe 14 to meet McCarrick under the understanding that the bishop might pay his tuition, and afterwards Doe 14 was taken on overnight and weekend trips to McCarrick’s Sea Girt, NJ beach house.
There, according to his lawyer Jeff Anderson, Doe 14 found an “assembly of seminarians and other priests” subservient to the bishop. The lawsuit states that McCarrick directed the sleeping arrangements, pairing minor boys with adult clerics. McCarrick also allegedly chose his own bed partners from the boys, seminarians, and priests. One of his victims was Doe 14.
“In the night, with the assistance of others, McCarrick would creep into this kid’s bed and engage in criminal assault of him, whispering ‘it’s okay,’” stated Anderson during the Zoom press conference he held yesterday.
Anderson also named Father Gerald Ruane, Father Michael Walters, and Father John Laferrera as priests who had “unpermitted sexual contact” with the then-teenage boy between 1982 and 1983. The lawyer called the assemblies at the beach house a “sex ring.” A deed to the property where the alleged acts took place shows, however, that the Diocese of Metuchen bought the house in Sea Girt in 1985, two years later than the time the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit alleges that from approximately 1970 to 1990, McCarrick sexually assaulted at least seven minor boys.
Not named in the lawsuit, but stressed in yesterday’s press conference, was the supposed role of the Vatican in the outrages at the Sea Girt beach house. Anderson deplored the “open and obvious criminal sexual conduct in a culture that was effectively cloaked in papal power.”
Anderson blamed Pope John Paul II for making McCarrick a bishop in the first place and stated that all the popes who followed him had allowed McCarrick to “ascend” to Archbishop of Newark, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the head of the Papal Foundation.
But in actual fact, McCarrick was promoted through the episcopal ranks only during the pontificate of John Paul II and his resignation as Archbishop of Washington. D.C. was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI soon after McCarrick’s 75th birthday.
Benedict XVI also quietly sanctioned McCarrick in 2008 following reports that McCarrick had been guilty of sexual misconduct with seminarians and priests. As for the Papal Foundation, McCarrick was a co-founder of the influential American charity.
These facts are made clearer in the actual lawsuit, which includes a timeline of events, including the revelations by Father Boniface Ramsey and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó that Vatican officials had been informed about McCarrick’s misconduct with seminarians by 2000.
However the lawsuit also holds that Pope Francis was “complicit” in a cover-up around McCarrick, stating that he “did not take action as to McCarrick or accept McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals until July 2018 after several accusations that McCarrick had sexually abused minors became public.”
According to former Papal Nuncio to the U.S. Archbishop Viganó, Pope Francis was aware in 2013 that the American then-cardinal had a reputation for sexual misconduct with seminarians and priests. Nevertheless, the pontiff permitted McCarrick to continue in his influential role as a cardinal, flouting the sanctions laid on him by Benedict XVI.
During the press conference, Anderson would not reveal why Doe 14 had chosen not to file the suit under his own name and sidestepped the issue of criminal charges. There is no indication that criminal charges have been laid in Doe 14’s case.
Theodore McCarrick, 90, resigned from the College of Cardinals in 2018 and was dismissed from the clerical state in 2019 after it was revealed to the public that he had credibly been accused of sexually abusing boys. McCarrick had also been the subject of complaints by seminarians and priests, an open secret known even in the highest echelons of the hierarchy by 2008. He has always publicly professed that he is innocent of sexual misconduct.
Brother Andrew Thomas Hewitt, C.F.C. died in 2002. In 2017, the Irish Christian Brothers revealed that allegations of sexual abuse at Essex Catholic had been made against Hewitt and others.
Father Gerald Ruane, who died in 2015, was dismissed from ministry in 2002 after allegations that he had abused a teenage boy in the 1970s were deemed credible.
Father Michael Walters was dismissed from ministry in 2019 after allegations that he had abused a boy and a girl in the 1980s were found credible.
Father John Laferrera was dismissed from ministry in 2012 after six men filed a lawsuit against him for sexual abuse in 2011.
July 29, 2020 update: This report now includes information that the Diocese of Metuchen bought the house in Sea Girt in 1985, two years later than the time the lawsuit claims.