Washington Post: Former Newark archbishop accused of abuse gave more than $600K to fellow clerics

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A bombshell report by the Washington Post found that disgraced and defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick gave more than $600,000 to high-ranking church officials, including two popes, amid a sexual abuse probe.

Robert Hoatson, a former priest of the Archdiocese of Newark who was ordained by McCarrick calls the checks "hush money."

"Cardinal McCarrick bought his way into becoming an Archbishop, becoming a Cardinal, and this is how you get to the top of the hierarchy in the Roman Catholic Church. You know, the old expression, ‘Follow the money?’ It certainly applies to the Church as well,” Hoatson says.

According to the Washington Post, McCarrick doled out huge sums of cash from an account at the Archdiocese of Washington while serving as Archbishop there. Among the recipients was Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Some of the clergy getting the money were directly involved in assessing misconduct claims against McCarrick, the Post reports.

RELATED: Lawsuit filed against Newark Archdiocese over alleged decadeslong abuse by archbishop 
RELATED: Bishop assigned to investigate sex abuse in the church is himself accused of abuse 

The newspaper reports that some of the claims date back decades. One of McCarrick’s alleged victims recently filed a lawsuit detailing how he says McCarrick abused him for years. In the suit, New Jersey native James Grein says that he accompanied McCarrick to the Vatican in 1988 and met Pope John Paul II.

“James told the Pope face to face and the Pope spoke English, ‘Cardinal McCarrick is sexually abusing me,’” says Grein’s attorney.

The suit also claims that Grein told the Pope about the abuse in front of other Vatican officials.

"He disgraces Jesus Christ. This is why Theodore McCarrick is a fraud,” Grein says.

MORE: Newark cardinal thanks pope for leadership as McCarrick is defrocked 

But despite years of allegations, McCarrick wasn’t removed from public ministry until 2018. He was defrocked by the Vatican this year, expelled from the Roman Catholic priesthood after the Church found him guilty of sexual crimes against minors and adults.

The Vatican plans to release a report about its handling of the allegations against McCarrick in the coming months

But Vatican clerics who received checks from McCarrick described them as customary gifts among Catholic leaders during the Christmas season, which were directed to a charity or used for other proper purposes.

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