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Former D.C. Archbishop Resigns Amid New Allegation of Sexual Abuse


Former Washington, D.C. Roman Catholic archbishop, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, is now facing a new allegation of sexual abuse. The Vatican had already suspended McCarrick last month, after it says it received a credible allegation that decades ago, in New York, he had sexually abused a 16-year-old altar boy. The Archdiocese of Newark released a statement that they had never received an accusation that McCarrick had abused a minor, but that there had been allegations received by it and the Diocese of Metuchen that he engaged in sexual misconduct with adults. Two of the three allegations resulted in settlements.

A 60 Year Old Virginia man, identified as “James,” alleges that McCarrick began abusing him when he was just 11 years old, and continued to abuse him for almost 20 years. In an interview with the Associated Press, James discusses how he was the first child McCarrick baptized, and that he became his “special kid” who was always sought out. When discussing how the abuse affected his life, James stated that he was unable to break the hold McCarrick had on him, and that his experience made it difficult for him to live up to his potential, stay employed, get married, and have children. Those opportunities, he said, were lost because of McCarrick.

This past Saturday, on July 28, 2018, Pop Francis accepted Cardinal McCarrick’s formal resignation from the College of the Cardinals, and ordered him to a “life of prayer and penance.” As the New York Times reported, such resignations are extremely rare, and the last one was of the French prelate Louis Billot in 1927. McCarrick’s resignation comes in a time where there is an increased awareness of abuse within the church, and mounting pressure for Pope Francis to really do something about it.

Such abuse unfortunately often remains unreported and is at best severely under-reported. It takes a lot of strength to come forward publicly with such allegations, and we commend James for his courage. The more survivors of sexual abuse and assault speak out, hopefully the more we can hold such abusers accountable.