Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick now faces a fifth civil sex-abuse lawsuit in New Jersey, after he was criminally charged in a Massachusetts district court this week for sexually assaulting a teenage boy.
On Thursday, a lawsuit was filed in a New Jersey court accusing McCarrick of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in 1986, NorthJersey.com first reported. The civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of the plaintiff by Jeffrey Anderson, a prominent attorney who represents sex-abuse victims.
The new lawsuit follows McCarrick’s first criminal charges, which were filed on Wednesday by Wellesley, Massachusetts, police in the state’s Dedham District Court. That complaint included three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14, alleged to have been committed against a 16-year-old male in 1974.
McCarrick, now 91, is scheduled to appear in the Massachusetts court for his arraignment, to formally answer the charges, on Sept. 3. He was the first U.S. cardinal to be criminally charged with sex abuse of a minor.
In 2018, he became the most notable Church figure at the center of sex-abuse allegations. In June of that year, the Archdiocese of New York announced that an allegation of sexual abuse against McCarrick from nearly 50 years prior was found to be “credible and substantiated.” The New York Times later reported accusations of McCarrick’s having sexually abused two boys decades earlier, while he was a priest.
More reports then surfaced of McCarrick’s abuse, grooming and harassment of seminarians from over the decades, and McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals in July 2018. Pope Francis sentenced him to a life of prayer and penance that month, following the public allegations.
The Pope laicized McCarrick in February 2019 after the Vatican conducted an expedited investigation and found him guilty of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”
According to the lawsuit filed Thursday in New Jersey, McCarrick sexually abused a boy in 1986, while he was “an agent and representative of Defendant Archdiocese of Newark.”
McCarrick was installed as archbishop of Newark on July 25, 1986. He had served in New Jersey as bishop of Metuchen since 1981, and before that, he was an auxiliary bishop of the neighboring New York Archdiocese since 1977.
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