Former – and indeed defrocked – Roman Catholic cardinal Theodore McCarrick was officially charged in Massachusetts on Wednesday with the sexual assault of a 16-year-old alleged to have occurred during the 1970s, as the Boston Globe reports.
Now 91 years old, McCarrrick, who once served as the archbishop of Washington, D.C., now faces three counts of indecent assault and battery on an individual over 14, according to a complaint filed in Dedham District Court concerning an incident that is said to have unfolded at Wellesley College.
The Washington Examiner further reported that the development represents the first time an American cardinal has been criminally charged for sexual misconduct involving a minor throughout the ongoing abuse scandal involving Catholic clergy.
The Associated Press reported that according to the unnamed, alleged victim, McCarrick groped him during a wedding reception at the college back in 1974 and proceeded to assault him in a coat room at the venue. It is also claimed that following the assault, McCarrick instructed the victim 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.”
Barry Coburn, an attorney for McCarrick responded to the news by telling the AP that he and his client “look forward to addressing the case in the courtroom,” as the Examiner noted.
It was back in 2019 that McCarrick, who also served as the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey at one point in his career, was relieved of all religious status and authority after a Vatican investigation declared that corroboration existed in support of longstanding rumors of sexual misconduct involving the cardinal.
At that time it was announced that the church had assessed allegations that McCarrick had engaged in multiple sexual assaults of an altar boy in New York City in the early 1970s to be “credible and substantiated,” according to the Examiner.
Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney for the alleged victim in the case hailed the announcement of charges against McCarrick, saying, according to Boston PBS affiliate WGBH, “By reporting the sexual abuse to criminal authorities, my client is empowering vicitms and making the world a safer place for children.”
McCarrick, who now resides in Missouri, has been summoned to appear in court in Dedham on Sept. 3, according to the Globe.