Abuse settlement from 2005 with Cardinal Wuerl’s name raises questions

Washington Post

By Michelle Boorstein and Julie Zauzmer

September 29, 2018

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who has said repeatedly that he didn’t know about years of sexual misconduct complaints involving his predecessor in the District, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, was named in a 2005 settlement agreement that included allegations against McCarrick, according to the accuser in the case and documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Robert Ciolek, who left the priesthood and later became an attorney, spoke for the first time publicly this summer about the $80,000 settlement he reached in June 2005 with three New Jersey dioceses over his allegations against McCarrick and a teacher at his Catholic high school. McCarrick led the church in Newark and Metuchen before coming to the District in 2001; Ciolek’s high school was in New Jersey as well.

In an interview with The Post this month, Ciolek said for the first time publicly that the settlement included allegations against a third person, a Pittsburgh priest Ciolek says made unwanted sexual contact with him in seminary, where the priest was a professor. The first page of the settlement agreement lists the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Wuerl, who supervised the priest as bishop of Pittsburgh at the time, among the numerous parties to the settlement. The agreement was signed by Ciolek and the three New Jersey dioceses.

Ciolek shared a copy of the settlement with The Post.

[American Catholics’ demands for reform intensify after letter implicates Pope Francis in sex abuse coverup]

The presence of Wuerl’s name on Ciolek’s settlement agreement raises questions about the cardinal’s assertion that he did not know about any allegations against McCarrick before they became a topic of public discussion this summer.

Wuerl’s D.C. spokesman, Ed McFadden, said this week that Wuerl had been unaware of the legal agreement.

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