Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former head of the Washington Archdiocese, said on Wednesday that he has been removed from public ministry after an allegation that he sexually abused a minor was found to be credible by a review board.
McCarrick, a political force in Washington, maintains his innocence. A review board composed of psychologists, law enforcement experts, jurists, parents, a priest, and a religious sister concluded that an allegation that he abused a teenager almost five decades ago was “credible and substantiated.”
The allegation was investigated by a special program run by the Archdiocese of New York dedicated to helping minors who claim to have been abused by priests and deacons. The Vatican gave the order to remove McCarrick after learning of the board’s findings.
“I realize this painful development will shock my many friends, family members, and people I have been honored to serve in my 60 years as a priest,” McCarrick said in a statement. “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.”
The Archdiocese of New York did not reveal the name of the victim or any details about the case to preserve the person’s privacy.
McCarrick said he learned of the allegation several months ago and notified the police and the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan.
A removal from public ministry means McCarrick can’t perform priestly functions in public.
“While saddened and shocked, this archdiocese awaits the final outcome of the canonical process and in the meantime asks for prayers for all involved,” the Archdiocese of Washington said in a statement.
McCarrick is 87 years old and is said to be in frail health. He resides with the Washington Archdiocese.
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