Former Seminary Investigator: McCarrick Was ‘Epicenter’ of Problems

National Catholic Register

November 25, 2020

By Edward Pentin Interviewing Fr. John Lavers

Father John Lavers, who led a 2012 investigation into allegations of homosexual activity among seminarians at Holy Apostles Seminary, assesses the findings of the McCarrick Report

Vatican City – What are the strengths and weaknesses of the McCarrick Report, and what can be learned from it that could be applied to similar cases in the future?

Father John Lavers, a Canadian priest of the Diocese of Portsmouth in England, currently serves as the director of chaplaincy with Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) in the United Kingdom. He led a 2012 investigation into allegations of homosexual behavior and activity at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut that led to the removal of 13 seminarians, primarily from the Archdiocese of Hartford and Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey.

Father Lavers’ investigation also indicated that a homosexual “pipeline” had been created that funneled vulnerable Latin American candidates into some U.S. seminaries where they were sexually exploited, and subsequently ordained as actively homosexual priests in some American dioceses.

And on the basis of the evidence collected for the Holy Apostles investigation, Father Lavers concluded that it was Theodore McCarrick himself who was at the “epicenter” of this powerful influential network that has preyed on seminarians, and has advanced homosexually active clergy within the U.S. Church.

Prior to becoming a priest, Father Lavers served in Canadian law enforcement and national security work. In this interview with the Register, he explains the nature of the report, how it falls short, and what he believes the next steps should be.

Father Lavers, what has been your initial reaction to the McCarrick Report?

I think the expectation of the report may have been overstated, even over-expected by people. It’s a report that would not be classified as investigative, but more of a gathering of data and analysis — almost like how you would approach an academic function: looking at the documents that the Vatican archives would have, as well as other information that they would have pulled from the various dioceses of the United States. But it’s not an investigative report.

And when I use the term “investigative report,” I use it from the perspective of how professional law enforcement, and/or intelligence services, would do, say, an investigation into this and in following all the leads as well as following the evidence. This report does not do that.

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