NEW YORK (NY)
November 11, 2020
By Luis Andres Henao and Flana Schor
[Note: See also the texts of the six anonymous letters (and one pseudonymous letter) and the detailed account of Mother 1’s letters to U.S. cardinals and the nuncio.]
The Vatican’s report on ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick revealed the previously unknown contents of six anonymous letters accusing him of pedophilia that were sent to U.S. church leaders in the early 1990s and later forwarded to the Holy See.
New York’s then-archbishop, Cardinal John O’Connor, forwarded them to the Vatican in 1999, shortly before he died, along with a six-page confidential memo in which he recommended McCarrick not be promoted to any important U.S. diocese because of a “scandal of great proportions” that would erupt if the allegations became public.
The 449-page report also included testimony from a woman identified only as “Mother 1” who told Vatican investigators she, too, tried to raise the alarm with anonymous letters in the 1980s when McCarrick was bishop in Metuchen, New Jersey, after she saw McCarrick “massaging (her sons’) inner thighs” at her home.
The woman said she sent the letters to members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy “expressing her distress about McCarrick’s conduct with minors,” and she believed they “may have been thrown aside” because they were anonymous.
Jeff Anderson, an attorney for several of McCarrick’s accusers, said at a news conference Tuesday that he also represents two people in the woman’s family and criticized the church for turning a blind eye to the warning.
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