N.J. Man Told Pope That Mccarrick Sexually Abused Him for Years, Lawsuit Says
By Joe Atmonavage
Advance Media for NJ.com
December 5, 2019
|Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Newark, visiting a Bayonne church in 2008. (Jersey Journal file photo)|
Disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sexually abused a New Jersey child for 20 years into adulthood, even after that the victim personally told Pope John Paul II during a visit to the Vatican about the abuse, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
It is the second complaint filed against McCarrick in the last week under a new law that gives more time to people to sue their alleged abusers and the institutions who protected them.
Both lawsuits include allegations of sexual abuse and claim that church officials were aware of McCarrick’s alleged misconduct.
According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Esssex County Superior Court, McCarrick began sexually abusing 11-year-old James Christopher Grein in 1969 when McCarrick was a priest in the Archdiocese of New York. (Grein filed a lawsuit last year against the Archdiocese of New York, alleging they were negligent in their supervision of McCarrick.)
As McCarrick moved to New Jersey and became the the bishop of Metuchen in 1981, he continued to allegedly engage in “unlawful sexual contact” with Grein, who was then an adult, in the rectory of St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral in Metuchen from 1982 to 1986, according to the lawsuit.
The abuse allegedly continued when MCarrick became the Newark archbishop in 1986. The lawsuit says the unlawful sexual contact included McCarrick pressing his naked body against Grein’s naked body and McCarrick also holding Grein’s genitalia.
“McCarrick used his positions with (the) Diocese of Metuchen and Archdiocese of Newark to gain access to (Grein), and to engage in unlawful sexual contact with (Grein),” the lawsuit says.
Grein’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, of Boston, said McCarrick allegedly sexually abused Grein as a child and then as an adult in New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Illinois and California.
Grein continues to deal with severe and permanent emotional distress because of the alleged sexual abuse, according to the lawsuit.
“Theodore McCarrick is a fraud,” Grein said at a press conference outside of Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. “McCarrick is the biggest sinner of all,” he added.
But like many of the dozens of lawsuits filed this week filed against organizations like the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church, Grein says that people in positions of power were aware of the alleged abuse, but failed to act on the allegations.
In 1988, McCarrick, who was then the Newark archbishop, took Grein, who was around 30 years old at the time, on a trip to the Vatican and introduced him to Pope John Paul II, according to the lawsuit. When McCarrick left the room, Grein, according to the lawsuit, personally told the Pope — in front of other Vatican officials — that McCarrick had been sexually abusing him “since he was a young child.”
Garabedian alleged that McCarrick sexually abused his client two more times after Grein told the Pope. The lawsuit claims no actions were taken to mitigate what Grein had alleged.
In fact, years later, McCarrick continued to rise through the ranks of the church and was selected to become a cardinal and serve as archbishop of Washington, D.C., one of the most coveted roles within the Catholic Church in the United States.
The six-count lawsuit filed Wednesday includes allegations of battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and gross negligence by the church. It names McCarrick, the Diocese of Metuchen and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.
“The Archdiocese of Newark takes all allegations of sexual abuse seriously,” said an Archdiocese of Newark spokeswoman. We are carefully reviewing the allegations in new lawsuits. Today and every day, we stand with survivors of clergy abuse on their journey towards healing.
“It is our moral obligation to face any allegations, even those from long ago, with transparency and truth to ensure that justice is served and to make certain these actions can never be repeated,” Anthony P. Kearns III, spokesperson and chancellor of the Diocese of Metuchen.
The lawsuit is the latest allegation against McCarrick claiming he used his position within the church to sexually abuse young children for decades.
McCarrick submitted his resignation to the College of Cardinals in July 2018. Earlier this year, the Vatican announced he was found guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing confession, and sexually abusing minors and adult seminarians over decades.
He was defrocked and cast out of the ministry by Pope Francis.
Church officials in New Jersey previously said McCarrick had been accused of sexual misconduct with three adults during his time in the state, two of which were secretly settled by the Archdiocese of Newark, according to previous reporting by NJ Advance Media.
Garabedian urged Pope Francis and current Newark archbishop Joseph Tobin to release all the files they have on McCarrick.
“There is no telling how many victims of McCarrick are out there,” Garabedian said.
At a press conference Monday, John Bellocchio, a former Catholic schoolteacher and principal, alleged in a lawsuit that McCarrick sexually assaulted him when he was the archbishop of Newark.
“It is time that they own, claim and acknowledge their sins and clean the house from the top-down,” Bellocchio said about the Catholic Church.
This story has been updated with a statement from the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen.
Joe Atmonavage may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow on Twitter @monavage.