Ex-Cardinal Charged With Sex Abuse in Wisconsin

Theodore McCarrick, 92, already faces abuse charge in Massachusetts
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 17, 2023 6:15 PM CDT
Ex-Cardinal Charged With Sex Abuse in Wisconsin
Theodore McCarrick listens during a press conference in Washington, May 16, 2006.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The defrocked Roman Catholic cardinal who became the face of the church's clergy sex abuse crisis has been charged in Wisconsin with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man more than 45 years ago, court records show. A criminal complaint filed Friday alleges that Theodore McCarrick, who was removed from the priesthood in 2019 after a Vatican investigation found he had sexually molested adults and children, fondled a man in 1977 while staying at a cabin on Geneva Lake in southeastern Wisconsin, the AP reports. Wisconsin prosecutors learned of the 1977 allegation through a program dedicated to prosecuting instances of abuse by faith leaders. Officials were able to charge McCarrick because the statute of limitations does not apply to people who are not residents of the state.

The reported victim, who is not named, told investigators that McCarrick had repeatedly sexually assaulted him since he was 11 and even brought him to parties where other adult men sexually assaulted him, according to the complaint. McCarrick became the highest-ranking Roman Catholic official in the US to face criminal charges for sexual abuse when he was accused in 2021 of sexually assaulting a teenage boy in Massachusetts at a wedding reception in 1974. His attorneys asked the judge in that case earlier this year to dismiss the charges, saying that McCarrick, now 92 and suffering from dementia, is not competent to stand trial.

The once-powerful priest was ordained in 1958 and became archbishop in Newark, New Jersey, in 1986 and then archbishop of Washington, DC, in 2000. He rose to power despite church officials' knowledge of accusations against him. A two-year Vatican investigation into McCarrick's tenure found credible reports of his problematic behavior dating back to 1999, including an inquiry confirming that McCarrick had slept with seminarians. The church has confirmed it made financial settlements with adults who accused McCarrick of sexual misconduct. McCarrick retired in 2006 but continued to be active in political circles until he was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019.

(More Theodore McCarrick stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.