In July, a prominent Cardinal resigned over allegations that he sexually abused both minors and adult seminary students over a period spanning several decades. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, ordering him to a “life of prayer and penance.”
Cardinal McCarrick is currently 88 years old. McCarrick has held prominent church positions in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC.
Law enforcement officials have uncovered evidence that McCarrick sexually abused a teenager while serving as a priest in New York nearly 50 years ago. Specifically, a now 62-year-old-man claims that he was sexually abused by McCarrick as a teen. Others have stepped forward, alleging that McCarrick abused them while they were in their 20s, during the time McCarrick was serving as a priest in New Jersey.
McCarrick also served as the archbishop of Washington, DC between 2001 and 2006, one of the Vatican’s most prominent positions. During that time, he helped the church develop policies intended to protect children from sexual abuse perpetrated by church officials.
It has been further alleged that those in the church knew for decades that Cardinal McCarrick was sexually abusing men who wanted to become priests. Several investigations have revealed that tens of thousands of dollars were paid in 2005 and 2007 to settle claims of alleged sexual abuse.
McCarrick is only one of many religious officials in the Catholic Church in recent years who has been accused of sexual misconduct. A former archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Keith Patrick O’Brien, stepped back from his position as Cardinal in 2013 after similar allegations, though he did not resign, and passed away in March 2018.
As Pope Francis continues to attempt to clean up the church by holding abusers accountable, it is thought that many similar stories may come to light.
To further complicate matters, many of the more conservative elements of the Church, dissatisfied with the direction Pope Francis has taken during his tenure, have called for the Pope to resign. Archbishop Viganò, a high-ranking church diplomat during the tenure of now-retired Pope Benedict, has made claims that Archbishop McCarrick had been suspected by the retired Pope, yet continued to make appearances and perform masses and other rites. The validity of Archbishop Viganò’s claims has been questioned, but this has only managed to raise more questions in an already complex and deeply distressing matter.
McCarrick released a statement denying the allegations in July. He claims to have cooperated in the investigation process, but claims no recollection of the reported abuse.
It seems like not a day goes by without a new story of sexual abuse surfacing in the news. Research has indicated that one out of every four girls, and one out of every six boys has suffered sexual abuse as a child. Sexual abuse can cause profound psychological trauma that a person carries with themselves for years.
At Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. we have been striving to bring victims of sexual abuse justice for over two decades. We have litigated cases involving religious institutions such as Catholic churches; public schools; private schools; and physicians. If you have been sexually abused but feel that you have waited too long to step forward, know that it is common for people to hold on to their suffering in silence for decades. We can help you to hold responsible parties accountable and move forward with your life.
To learn more about how an experienced Georgetown sexual abuse lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help you reclaim your life, call us today at 302-656-5445 or contact us online. We provide free consultations to victims of sexual assault throughout Delaware, including Dover and Georgetown.