Here's how much N.J. Catholic dioceses paid to alleged McCarrick sex abuse victims, report says
By Kelly Heyboer And Ted Sherman
Star-Ledger / NJ.com / NJ Advance Media
July 17, 2018
|Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in a file photo.|
Catholic dioceses in New Jersey paid two former priests a total of $180,000 after they said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sexually abused them, according to a New York Times report.
The settlements included $80,000 paid to a former priest turned lawyer from New Jersey who said McCarrick would invite him and other young seminarians and priests to a Shore house in Sea Girt where they would be expected to share a bed with the former archbishop of Newark, the report said.
Robert Ciolek, the former priest who said he was abused by McCarrick for years, said he felt unable to say no when the then-bishop would rub his back and touch him in bed.
“In the corporate world, there are ways to report misconduct,” Ciolek, 57, told the New York Times in a story published Monday. “You have an H.R. contact, you have a legal department, or you have anonymous reporting, you have systems. Does the Catholic Church have that? How is a priest supposed to report abuse or wrong activity by his bishop? What is their stated vehicle for anyone to do that? I don’t think it exists.”
McCarrick, the former archbishop of Newark who became a cardinal, was removed from public ministry last month after he was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy 50 years ago while he was a priest in New York. He is one of the highest-ranking American church officials to have been removed from ministry over sex abuse allegations.
On the day he was removed, the Archdiocese of Newark revealed for the first time McCarrick had been previously accused of sexual misconduct with adults during his time in New Jersey and two resulted in settlements. But church officials provided no details.
Here's what we now know:
Who are McCarrick's alleged adult victims?
Ciolek was in his early 20s and studying to be a priest when McCarrick allegedly singled him out and began inviting him on overnight trips, he told the New York Times.
McCarrick would touch him in bed, but only above the waist, he said. They would never kiss. The alleged abuse lasted for several years.
McCarrick rose from Bishop of Metuchen to Archbishop of Newark, then eventually Archbishop of Washington, D.C. He was eventually appointed a cardinal by Pope John Paul II.
Ciolek, who later became a priest, told no one about the abuse until he started to get counseling after he left the priesthood, married and became a lawyer.
Then, in 2004, he filed for a settlement from the church and received $80,000 from the Archdiocese of Newark and the Dioceses of Trenton and Metuchen the following year, the New York Times reported.
Ciolek said he could not speak publicly about the settlement until the church released him from a confidentiality agreement after McCarrick was removed from ministry.
McCarrick's second alleged adult victim was a priest who received a $100,000 in a 2007 settlement with the church, the New York Times reported.
The priest, who was not named, alleged McCarrick asked him to put on a striped sailor shirt and a pair of shorts and join him in bed, where McCarrick put his arms and legs around him. The priest also alleged he saw McCarrick having sex with another young priest during a fishing trip, according to a written statement obtained by The New York Times.
The priest who accused McCarrick of abuse was later forced to resign from the priesthood himself after he allegedly abused teenage boys, the report said.
What does McCarrick say?
McCarrick, 88, has not spoken about the settlements or the allegations by the adult victims. He declined an interview with NJ Advance Media through a spokesman.
When he was removed from ministry last month, McCarrick said he had no memory of abusing a teeenager 50 years ago while he was a priest in New York.
"While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people," McCarrick said in a June 20 statement.
He said he cooperated with the investigation of that incident.
"I fully cooperated in the process," McCarrick said. "My sadness was deepened when I was informed that the allegations had been determined credible and substantiated."
Who is McCarrick's alleged teenage victim?
The man who accused McCarrick of abusing him as a teenager nearly 50 years ago is a married New Jersey businessman who does not want his name revealed, Pat Noaker, his attorney, told NJ Advance Media.
The man said he was a 16-year-old attending Cathedral Prep Seminary in Manhattan when he was measured for a special cassock for altar servers at the 1971 Christmas Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Noaker said.
He alleged, McCarrick, then a monsignor, unzipped the teenager's pants him while measuring him for the garment. The boy pulled away.
The following year, McCarrick allegedly cornered the teenager in a bathroom and put his hand down the boy's pants.
Now 62, the New Jersey businessman contacted the Archdiocese of New York when he heard there was a panel considering settlements for alleged victims, Noaker said. He knew nothing about the alleged adult victims in New Jersey who reached settlements with the church after accusing McCarrick of abuse more than a decade ago.
"He had the experience of being saddened that others had been hurt," Noaker said. "But this was further validation that this happened to him."
The man was also happy to hear the Vatican used his complaint to remove McCarrick from ministry.
"He feels as though he's been heard now," Noaker said. "That meant something to him personally as well as philosophically."
Will McCarrick be charged with a crime?
Because of the statute of limitations on sexual abuse in New York, when child victims must come forward by age 23, it is unlikely McCarrick will be charged with a crime for the alleged 50-year-old incident.
In New Jersey, the law suspends the statute of limitations if sexual abuse victims fail to realize the extent of their abuse until they are adults.
Why were the church's settlements with McCarrick's alleged victims kept secret?
The dioceses in New Jersey did not disclose they had settled with two of McCarrick's adult accusers until after he was removed from ministry.
The settlements, made in 2005 and 2007, were with adult victims of alleged sexual misconduct.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark did not respond to questions about why the settlements were not disclosed.
In a statement to the New York Times, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the current head of the Newark archdiocese, said he was disturbed by the reports about McCarrick.
“I recognize without any ambiguity that all people have a right to live, work and study in safe environments,” Tobin said in a statement. “I intend to discuss this tragedy with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in order to articulate standards that will assure high standards of respect by bishops, priests and deacons for all adults.”
In 2002 in Dallas, American bishops created the Dallas Charter to enact a zero-tolerance policy in the wake of the widening scandal over abusive priests in the Catholic Church in the U.S.
The charter called for bishops to report all cases of sexual abuse involving minors to civil authorities.
Erin Friedlander, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Metuchen, said Tuesday the allegations of sexual misconduct by McCarrick were reported to authorities.
"At the time each claim was received, each was reported to law enforcement. When the two settlements were reached, each within a few months' time, they were reported to representatives of the Holy See in the United States," Friedlander said.
New Jersey dioceses have previously reached similar financial settlements with alleged victims of priest sexual abuse in New Jersey, though it is unclear how much was paid out in total and how many of the settlements have confidentiality agreements baring victims from talking about their experiences.
Charles Carella, a Roseland attorney who serves as the outside counsel for the Archdiocese of Newark, said there have been few confidentiality agreements in recent settlements with alleged victims of sexual abuse involving priests.
"Since 2002, there have been no settlements by the Archdiocese of Newark relating to clergy abuse of a minor that contain confidentiality provisions unless the victim asked for confidentiality," Carella said.
The 2002 Dallas Charter bars the church from inserting confidentiality agreements in settlement agreements unless they are requested by the victims, he said.
"The vast majority do not contain confidentiality provisions," Carella said.
Contact: email@example.com, kheyboer@njadvancemed