November 10, 2020
By Philip Pullella
A Vatican report into disgraced ex-U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick points to failings by popes, Vatican officials and senior U.S. clerics who let him rise through the Catholic ranks despite repeated allegations of sexual misconduct.
With testimony from 90 witnesses and dozens of documents, letters and transcripts from Vatican and U.S. Church archives, the 460-page document offers a remarkable reckoning by an institution known for its secrecy, portraying a man long able to convince superiors of his innocence.
The report said that “credible evidence” that the former archbishop of Washington, D.C. had abused minors when he was a priest in the 1970s did not surface until 2017.
But it said the U.S. Church hierarchy was aware of consistent rumors that after McCarrick became a bishop in the early 1980s he preyed on adult male seminarians.
“During extended interviews, often emotional, the persons described a range of behavior, including sexual abuse or assault, unwanted sexual activity, intimate physical contact and the sharing of beds without physical touching,” the report’s introduction says.
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