The Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal just reached its highest level yet inside the church. Defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been charged with molesting a 16-year-old boy decades ago in Massachusetts, reports NBC News. He is the first cardinal, former or otherwise, to be so charged. McCarrick is 91, and he has long been accused of molesting minors and adults during his ascent up the church's hierarchy—the reason Pope Francis defrocked him in 2019. But because the alleged abuse occurred years ago, beyond the statute of limitations for such crimes, it seemed unlikely McCarrick would ever face criminal charges, notes the Washington Post. However, the Boston Globe reports that prosecutors say they have found a way around that.
McCarrick is accused of molesting the teen during a wedding reception at Wellesley College in 1974. However, McCarrick lived in New York City at the time, and the Globe explains that he can still be charged because he wasn't a Massachusetts resident and the statute of limitations stopped running when he left the state. He faces three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 in a complaint filed by Wellesley Police in Dedham District Court. "We will look forward to addressing the case in the courtroom,” says an attorney for McCarrick. In court documents, the unnamed accuser says McCarrick led him into a room on the college campus and fondled him, then instructed him to “say three Our Fathers and a Hail Mary or it was one Our Father and three Hail Marys, so God can redeem you of your sins," per the AP. (Read more Theodore McCarrick stories.)