Skip links

Wuerl denies prior denials denied knowledge of McCarrick seminarian abuse

.- Cardinal Donald Wuerl told Washington, DC priests Saturday that he appropriately handled a 2004 allegation of misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The cardinal also said that his recent denials of knowledge concerning McCarrick’s alleged misdeeds pertained only to the sexual abuse of minors.

In a Jan. 12 letter to priests, Wuerl said that in 2004 he received a complaint alleging McCarrick’s “inappropriate conduct” from a former priest who was primarily reporting other incidents of sexual abuse, one involving a Pittsburgh priest. Wuerl was at the time Bishop of Pittsburgh.

“The entire report was also immediately turned over to the Apostolic Nuncio – the Papal Representative in the U.S. Having acted responsibly with the allegation involving Bishop McCarrick’s behavior with an adult and hearing nothing more on the matter I did not avert to this again,” Wuerl wrote.

“The man asked for confidentiality to protect his own name.”

On June 20, 2018, the Archdiocese of New York announced it had deemed credibly an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor made against McCarrick, who served as a New York priest in the 1970s. Media reports subsequently revealed allegations that McCarrick had serially sexually abused at least two teenage boys, and that he had engaged in coercive sexual misconduct with priest and seminarians for decades.

Wuerl wrote in a June 21 letter to his diocese that he was “shocked and saddened” by allegations made against McCarrick, his predecessor as Archbishop of Washington.

In the same letter, Wuerl affirmed that “no claim – credible or otherwise – has been made against Cardinal McCarrick during his time here in Washington.”

In July, Wuerl told WTOP that he had never heard rumors of sexual misconduct regarding McCarrick. In August, he told CBS News that he was not aware of rumors that McCarrick had relationships with other priests.

Wuerl’s Jan. 12 letter said that his remarks had only pertained to rumors regarding the sexual abuse of minors.

“When the allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was brought against Archbishop McCarrick, I stated publicly that I was never aware of any such allegation or rumors. This assertion was in the context of the charges of sexual abuse of minors, which at the time was the focus of discussion and media attention.”

“While one may interpret my statement in a different context, the discussion around and adjudication of Archbishop McCarrick’s behavior concern his abuse of minors,” Wuerl wrote.

Wuerl received the 2004 complaint from Robert Ciolek, a laicized priest from the Diocese of Metuchen, where McCarrick served as bishop from 1981 to 1986.

In a Jan. 10 statement, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said that Ciolek appeared in November 2004 before its diocesan review board to discuss the allegation of abuse Ciolek had made against a Pittsburgh priest.

During that meeting, “Mr. Ciolek also spoke of his abuse by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. This was the first time the Diocese of Pittsburgh learned of this allegation,” the statement said.

“A few days later, then-Bishop Donald Wuerl made a report of the allegation to the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.”

The disclosure was the first confirmation by Church authorities that Wuerl was aware of allegations against McCarrick before the Archdiocese of New York announced in June 2018 a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor made against McCarrick.

Read more at Catholic News Agency. 

 

Share with Friends: