Cardinal Donald Wuerl did not know until recently about settlements made by two dioceses in response to misconduct allegations against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, according to the Archdiocese of Washington.
Mgr Charles Antonicelli, Vicar General of Washington, wrote to priests in the archdiocese, saying: “Neither the Archdiocese of Washington nor Cardinal Wuerl knew about these confidential settlements until this most recent credible and substantiated allegation against Cardinal McCarrick was made public.”
“For clarity, the Archdiocese of Washington did not participate in, make any contributions to, nor was involved in any way with these settlement agreements,” he added.
Archbishop McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals last week following a string of abuse allegations. He served as Archbishop of Washington his retirement in 2006, when he was succeeded by Cardinal Wuerl.
The settlements mentioned in the letter were reached in 2005 and 2007 by the Diocese of Metuchen and the Archdiocese of Newark respectively. Two men claimed McCarrick had sexually assaulted them when they were seminarians and young priests.
However, Mgr Antonicelli said that neither settlement was reported to Cardinal Wuerl after he succeeded McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington. He added: “Our offices are aware only of the same information regarding these allegations that you are seeing in media reports.”
Cardinal Wuerl is encouraging anyone with information about alleged harassment to “bring it forward as soon as possible so that it may be promptly and fully investigated,” the letter adds.