McCarrick report rings familiar to former Newark seminarians

National Catholic Reporter

November 17, 2020

By Peter Feuerherd

While some reacted with shock to a report released Nov. 10 by the Vatican detailing how church officials ignored former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s long history of sexual abuse, one group was not surprised.

Those who went through seminary for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, during McCarrick’s tenure as archbishop from 1986 to 2000 already knew the story, with the Vatican report a kind of “imprimatur” validating their experiences.

Bob Hoatson remembers that as summer weekends approached, “Uncle Ted,” as McCarrick called himself, would send out invitations to a select crew of students. They would number just beyond the number of beds available at McCarrick’s New Jersey beach house. McCarrick, according to the report, would then invite a seminarian to share a bed with him.

“Everybody knew about McCarrick, about Uncle Ted and the ‘nephews’ he had,” Hoatson told NCR.

Those selected for the beach house trips knew, said Hoatson, “you had to go,” or they would fear repercussions with the archbishop, who had ultimate authority over their future careers as priests.

Hoatson, then in his 40s, was never invited, he surmises because of his relatively advanced age. But before starting ordination studies for Newark, he asked if the archbishop was still sleeping with seminarians, and was assured by an archdiocesan official that the practice had stopped, even as the invites to the beach house continued. Hoatson had heard of McCarrick’s reputation while he worked as a teacher in New York’s Harlem as a Christian Brother.

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