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Cardinal McCarrick removed from public ministry after abuse allegation

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

The former Archbishop of Washington has been removed from public ministry after police deemed an allegation of sexual abuse against him to be “credible and substantiated”.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who served as archbishop from 2001 to 2006, released a statement saying:

Some months ago, I was advised by the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, that an allegation of sexual abuse of a teenager from almost fifty-years ago had been made against me. At that time I was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

While shocked by the report, and while maintaining my innocence, I considered it essential that the charges be reported to the police, thoroughly investigated by an independent agency, and given to the Review Board of the Archdiocese of New York. I fully cooperated in the process.

My sadness was deepened when I was informed that the allegations had been determined credible and substantiated.

In obedience I accept the decision of The Holy See, that I no longer exercise any public ministry.

I realize this painful development will shock my many friends, family members, and people I have been honored to serve in my sixty-years as a priest.

While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people.

McCarrick, 87, was ordained to the priesthood in 1958. He served as President of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico from 1965 to 1969, and was appointed an auxiliary bishop of New York in 1977.

In 1981, he became the founding bishop of the diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey, before being made Archbishop of Newark in 1986. He served in that post until Pope John Paul II appointed him as Archbishop of Washington in 2001 and made him a cardinal. He submitted his resignation in 2006 upon reaching the customary age of retirement.