Ex-Cardinal McCarrick Is the First U.S. Cardinal to Face Criminal Charges of Sexual Abuse Against Teen
The 91-year-old was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019
Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenage boy at a Massachusetts wedding reception decades ago — making him the first U.S. cardinal to ever be criminally charged with a sexual crime against a minor.
According to The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, the defrocked McCarrick has been formally charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 for crimes he is alleged to have committed during the 1970s.
McCarrick, 91, was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019, after a Vatican investigation determined he had sexually molested adults as well as children during his years as a priest.
Court documents procured by the Globe state the victim, now an adult, told authorities McCarrick was a family friend back in 1974, when the alleged incident occurred.
According to the reports, McCarrick, the victim alleges, groped him when he was 16, as the two walked around the campus of Wellesley College, where his brother's wedding reception was being held.
The victim, the papers report, further alleged that McCarrick led him to a room where he fondled him.
Afterwards, McCarrick allegedly instructed the teen 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."
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It was unclear Friday if McCarrick had appeared in court for arraignment. Records fail to indicate if he has been asked to enter pleas to the three counts.
Barry Coburn, an attorney for McCarrick, told the Associated Press that they "look forward to addressing the case in the courtroom," and declined further comment.
PEOPLE was unable to reach McCarrick for comment.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.