A former high-ranking Catholic Cardinal is being accused of running a child trafficking ring for other clergymen out of his New Jersey beach house. Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, is accused of managing a “sex cabal” in the 1980s, in which alter boys were groomed to be abused by pedophile priests.
This Tuesday, an unnamed plaintiff filed a 30-page lawsuit against Mr. McCarrick, the Archdiocese of Newark, the Diocese of Metuchen, and several former or retired priests. The lawsuit alleges one count of sexual battery and six counts of negligence.
McCarrick bought a beach house in Sea Girt, New Jersey with church funds while he was the bishop of Metuchen. According to the lawsuit, McCarrick and other priests used the beach house as a place to groom young boys for sexual assault.
The unnamed plaintiff is being represented by attorney Jeff Anderson, said that McCarrick had a large number of co-conspirators.
At that house and detailed in the complaint … was an assembly of a large number of seminarians and other priests all answering in service to the boss, to the bishop, to McCarrick. In the night, with the assistance of others, McCarrick would creep into this kid’s bed and engage in criminal sexual assault … whispering, ‘It’s OK,’ Anderson said.
Anderson called McCarrick "the most powerful clergy in the country" and said that the victims waited so long to speak out because they feared retribution. In some circumstances, allegations against these priests have been stirring for a very long time, but the victims were unable to do anything about it because the state's statute of limitations for sex crimes did not extend back to the 1980s. However, a new bill passed in the state which extends the statute of limitations for cases of child sexual abuse. As soon as the bill was passed, Anderson filed the lawsuit on behalf of the anonymous plaintiff.
The lawsuit suggests that McCarrick began molesting the plaintiff and another 11-year-old altar boy in 1978. The victims say that the abuse continued to take place until 1983.
There are numerous other priests who are listed in the lawsuit as well, and all of them are already on official lists of priests with credible accusations against them. Former priests Michael Walters, John Laferrera and Gerald Ruane and Brother Andrew Thomas Hewitt are all named as abusers in the suit.
The plaintiff says that McCarrick organized weekend trips with young altar boys, and each boy would share a room with a priest.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Newark said in an email to The Washington Times it would be “inappropriate to discuss or comment on matters in litigation.”
The Archdiocese of Newark remains fully committed to transparency and to our long-standing programs to protect the faithful and will continue to work with victims, their legal representatives and law enforcement authorities in an ongoing effort to resolve allegations and bring closure to victims, the Archdiocese of Newark spokesperson said in the email.
In 2019, McCarrick was defrocked by the church over unrelated sexual assault allegations.