Vatican releases lengthy report laying out decades of sexual abuse from ex-Cardinal McCarrick
The Vatican has released a 450-page report detailing decades of abuse and sexual misconduct from former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
As early as the mid-1980s when McCarrick was bishop of the Metuchen Archdiocese, a mother who was concerned about his behavior wrote an anonymous letter to church officials, the report says. In 1992, a handwritten letter sent to New York City’s cardinal warned that allegations against McCarrick were “substantial and will shatter the American Church.”
But despite the warnings, McCarrick continued to have protections until he was defrocked in 2019 – protections that often came from the highest levels of the Catholic Church.
“It is historic in one particular way…it is the first time ever…that an outside non-clerical…investigator has been deployed…to unearth that which was been concealed and hidden and thus, prepare a report that includes documents,” says Jeff Anderson, an attorney for McCarrick’s accusers.
The report includes testimony from McCarrick’s alleged victims. It says, "During extended interviews, often emotional, the persons described a range of behavior, including sexual abuse or assault, unwanted sexual activity, intimate physical contact and the sharing of beds without physical touching. The interviews also included detailed accounts related to McCarrick's abuse of authority and power."
“It is very clear that Pope John Paul II had every sign that said McCarrick is a peril and made a choice not to believe it,” Anderson says.
The report also implicates the former pope, now Saint John Paul II, who was aware of allegations against McCarrick at least as early as 1999. But in 2000, Saint John Paul II still appointed McCarrick to head the prestigious Washington Archdiocese.
Anderson represents two people in the family of the woman who tried to raise the alarm about McCarrick nearly 40 years ago.
“It is thus our job to stand with them, our job to support them, our job to understand what they’re going through and help them get help, knowing that this is heartbreaking and painful and awful,” Anderson says.
In a statement, current Newark Cardinal Joe Tobin said in part: "...failures by some leaders in the Catholic Church have wounded many including the families and loved ones of victims and the faithful."
The statement continued, “It is important to recognize that the Church has made progress in responding to clergy abuse by implementing and updating policies and programs to safeguard the faithful, especially the most vulnerable among us."
To read the entire report, click here.