July 29, 2021
By Shelley Murphy
Defrocked former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception at Wellesley College in the 1970s, making him the highest-ranking Roman Catholic official in the United States to face criminal charges in the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
McCarrick, 91, a former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who fraternized with popes and presidents before he was expelled from the priesthood over sexual abuse allegations, is charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 in a criminal complaint filed by Wellesley Police in Dedham District Court.
A summons has been issued ordering McCarrick, now living in Missouri, to appear at the court for arraignment Aug. 26.
Until now, McCarrick appeared beyond the reach of the criminal courts. Several men have filed civil lawsuits in New York and New Jersey, alleging that McCarrick sexually abused them in those states when they were children between the 1970s and the 1990s. But the statute of limitations has expired in those cases, preventing authorities from pursuing criminal charges.
Yet McCarrick can be charged with the alleged assaults in Wellesley because he was not a Massachusetts resident and the statute of limitations stopped running when he left the state. At the time of the incident, McCarrick was a monsignor and secretary to Cardinal Terence Cooke and lived in the rectory attached to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
McCarrick’s attorney, Barry Coburn of Washington D.C., said Thursday that “we will look forward to addressing this issue in the courtroom.” He declined to comment further.
The victim’s name is redacted from court filings, which say the investigation was launched in January by prosecutors in Norfolk and Middlesex counties, as well as police in Newton, Arlington, and Wellesley after the man’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, wrote a letter to the Norfolk and Middlesexdistrict attorneys alleging sexual abuse by McCarrick.