Prominent Catholic Cardinal Suspended from Ministry for Sexually Abusing a Child in New York

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York issued a statement today that Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Washington, has been credibly accused of sexually abusing a teen 45 years ago while serving as a priest in New York. This announcement comes following a thorough investigation by an independent forensic agency at the direction of law enforcement. Results were provided to the Archdiocesan Review Board, which found the allegations to be credible and substantiated.

Leander “Lee” James and Craig Vernon of James, Vernon & Weeks, P.A., together with Patrick Noaker of Noaker Law Firm, LLC, represent the now-grown victim who was abused by Cardinal McCarrick as a boy. The victim alleges abuse by McCarrick on two occasions, once in 1971 and again in 1972. Both instances occurred at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.

The first instance of molestation occurred while the victim, who was an altar boy, was being fitted for a cassock for Christmas Mass. According to Attorney Noaker, “McCarrick started measuring him, then he unzipped his pants, stuck his hand in and grabbed his genitals.” The 16-year-old boy struggled with the priest and eventually pushed him away, following which McCarrick commanded him not to tell anyone about the molestation. A second incident of abuse occurred the following Christmastime when McCarrick confronted the same boy in a bathroom and stuck his hands down the boy’s pants.

Attorney Lee James commented, “We work hard to seek justice and accountability on behalf of individuals sexually abused by those in authority. These survivors of abuse, including our client who came forward against Cardinal McCarrick, are incredibly brave in the face of great opposition.”

The victim came forward and reported the abuse to church officials early this year, and testified before a church panel in April 2018. “He knows who the powerful people are here,” Noaker said. “That’s one reason it took him so long to come forward. But he feels good that people believed him.” The victim wishes to remain anonymous as he processes the news of Cardinal McCarrick’s removal.

Pope Francis ordered that the 87-year-old cardinal be removed pending further action that could end in his expulsion from the priesthood. Cardinal McCarrick is the highest-ranking American Roman Catholic leader to be credibly accused of child sexual abuse since the early 1990’s. “This shows you how broken the system is,” Noaker stated. “You don’t go higher than cardinal unless you’re Pope.”

The official statement by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, is available here.

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