Ex-NJ Catholic Church Leader McCarrick Ousted For Sex Allegations
By Tom Davis
June 20, 2018
A former Catholic church leader in New Jersey has been removed from the ministry in the wake of sexual abuse allegations involving a teen.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Newark, the founding Bishop of Metuchen and Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C., has been removed from the ministry after allegations that he abused a teen 50 years ago came to light, church leaders announced Wednesday. The alleged sexual misconduct resulted in settlements.
McCarrick, 87, said in his statement that he doesn't recall the abuse but he accepted his removal: "While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people," he said.
McCarrick said he was advised by the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, that an allegation of sexual abuse of a teenager from 47 years ago had been made against him. At that time, he was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.
"While shocked by the report, and while maintaining my innocence, I considered it essential that the charges be reported to the police, thoroughly investigated by an independent agency, and given to the Review Board of the Archdiocese of New York. I fully cooperated in the process," he said.
"My sadness was deepened when I was informed that the allegations had been determined credible and substantiated."
McCarrick was bishop of Metuchen from 1981 to 1986, and served as Newark's archbishop from 1986 to 2000.
Rev. James F. Checchio, Bishop of Metuchen, said he was "very saddened" to be advised by the Archbishop of New York that McCarrick is alleged to have sexually abused a minor when he was a priest in the Archdiocese of New York.
"This very disturbing report has prompted me to direct that the records of our Diocese be re-examined, and I can report to you that there has never been any report or allegation that Cardinal McCarrick ever abused any minor during his time here in Metuchen," he said. "In the past, there have been allegations that he engaged in sexual behavior with adults. This Diocese and the Archdiocese of Newark received three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements."
Checchio said the abuse of anyone who is vulnerable is "both shameful and horrific."
"The abuse of a minor by a priest – as is being reported in this case from New York – is an abomination and sickens and saddens us all," he said. "I offer my sincere apologies to anyone who has ever been victimized, and I ask anyone who has been abused by any clergy to report it directly to law enforcement. I want all victims to know that they are always in my prayers, and I ask everyone in the Diocese to join with me in praying that the Lord will bring them courage, healing and consolation."
In Metuchen, he was the shepherd of the newly formed diocese, according to nj.com, and later would build a $13 million archdiocesan center next to the cathedral in Newark. He allegedly used his connections to get Pope John Paul II to Newark in 1995.
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Archbishop of Newark, said he recognizes that the people of the Archdiocese meet the announcement of "a credible and substantiated claim of abuse of a minor" by Cardinal McCarrick "with a range of emotions."
"I am thinking particularly of those who have experienced the trauma of sexual abuse by clergy - whose lives have been impacted tragically by abuse," he said. To those survivors, their families and loved ones, I offer my sincere apologies and my commitment of prayer and action to support you in your healing."
The Archdiocese of Newark has never received an accusation that Cardinal McCarrick abused a minor, he said. In the past, there have been allegations that he engaged in sexual behavior with adults, but the Archdiocese and the Diocese of Metuchen received three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements.
"Cardinal McCarrick served this Archdiocese for almost fifteen years. No doubt many of you developed strong relationships with him and appreciate the impact of his service. Those feelings are likely hard to reconcile with the news of a credible and substantiated claim of abuse of a minor," he said. "While Cardinal McCarrick maintains his innocence and the canonical process continues, we must put first the serious nature of this matter with respect and support for the process aimed at hearing victims and finding truth."
Tobin said the abuse crisis in the church has been "devastating."
"We cannot undo the actions of the past, but we must continue to act with vigilance today. I renew my commitment to seek forgiveness and healing, while ensuring a safe environment for children in this Archdiocese," he said. "I will continue to report immediately to civil authorities any accusation of sexual abuse of a minor by clergy and will cooperate fully in the investigation and adjudication. I continue to urge anyone who was abused by clergy to come forward, as brave survivors before you have done. To the priests, religious and all other members of this community, I join you in continued prayer that God carry us together in his love with commitment to our faith and each other."