The McC Criminal Case: Two Receptions

St Matthews Cathedral

Theodore McCarrick began his ministry as Archbishop of Washington DC in January of 2001.

After a ceremony at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, there was a reception in a banquet hall at the Capital Hilton, a few blocks away. The victim in the upcoming Massachusetts criminal case against McCarrick was at that reception. So was I.

We did not meet then. I have since had the privilege of getting to know the victim, and he has shared some of his experiences with me. His identity will become public on September 3.

I learned from my friend that there were, in fact, at least three of McCarrick’s victims at that Capitol-Hilton reception in early ’01. All three were members of devout Catholic families, families that McCarrick had befriended in his early years as a priest.

The three had shared their experiences with each other before then. That day, they spoke privately among themselves outside the reception, taking counsel with each other about the situation. The man who had sexually abused them, when they were teenage boys a quarter-century earlier, had just become the Archbishop of the capital city of the United States. The criminal would soon become a Cardinal, a potential pope. They had to do something.

Connie ChungThe men agreed that one of them would try to speak to a prominent journalist. The deputized victim called the ABC News reporter Connie Chung. He told her their story. Chung did not believe it.

A year later, after the Boston sex-abuse scandal, McCarrick told a group of reporters that he had been “falsely accused” during the 1990’s. In Rome, Chung interviewed McCarrick. She asked, “Would you address the question of sexual conduct on your part?” McCarrick answered, “I have never had sexual relations with anybody.” Chung: “End of story?” McCarrick: “End of story.”

It might have been the end of the story. But the victims of McCarrick’s crimes did not give up.


Wellesley College Boston Marathon

The course of the Boston Marathon takes you past the campus of Wellesley College. The year that I ran the race, the college choir greeted us runners with an encouraging serenade.

In 1974 Monsignor Theodore McCarrick served as priest-secretary to the Cardinal Archbishop of New York. McCarrick had been friends with one particular north-Jersey Catholic family for decades. That summer he officiated at the wedding of one of the sons. The couple had met when the groom was studying at Boston University and the bride at Wellesley. In the summer of 1974, Wellesley offered itself as an inexpensive venue for wedding receptions.

The victim–the younger brother of the groom–will testify, in person, in court, in Massachusetts. He will tell the jury what happened at that wedding reception. McCarrick had been regularly sexually abusing the boy for five years, beginning at age 11. McCarrick abused him every chance he got.

McCarrick had convinced the young man that he, Uncle Ted, was the only person on earth who could keep the boy connected to God. McCarrick would fondle and kiss the boy’s penis during confession. The previous winter (February 1974), McCarrick had gotten the boy drunk at a hotel bar. McCarrick took the boy up to a room, with only one bed, and proceeded to [Rated R] ejaculate on the boy’s chest. At the wedding reception, McCarrick pulled the boy outside and fondled his penis. Later, McCarrick pulled him into a coat closet, told the boy to confess his sins, and fondled his penis again.

If you have seen the move Spotlight, you know about the Armenian Boston lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, played by Stanley Tucci in the movie.

Spotlight movieIn January of this year, Garabedian sat at his desk, poring over all the incidents of criminal abuse that the victim had suffered at McCarrick’s hands over the course of the boy’s teenage years. Garabedian wanted to find a way to get some justice, in a criminal court room, even now. As he went over the list of incidents for the umpteenth time, an idea struck him out of the blue.

At that wedding, McCarrick criminally abused the boy in Massachusetts. McCarrick never lived in Massachusetts. Garabedian remembered that Massachusetts has a provision of law that prevents criminals from escaping justice by fleeing the state. If a criminal leaves Massachusetts, the statute-of-limitations clock stops ticking, until such time as the criminal returns to the state. So, even though nearly fifty years have passed since the crime, the six year statute-of-limitations period has not expired.

The victim then spoke to the Norfolk County MA District Attorney, under oath. A Wellesley MA detective investigated the accusations and concluded that they are more likely true than not. The matter now sits before a judge at the county courthouse in Dedham.

McCarrick belonged in jail on the day that he ordained me, and eight other young men, to the sacred priesthood. That day was over eighteen years ago, and it was nearly thirty years after the two crimes that McCarrick committed at that wedding reception at Wellesley College.

Justice has moved slow. But the victim said to me today: “Father Mark, finish your post with this: God is never late.”

God is never late.


5 thoughts on “The McC Criminal Case: Two Receptions

  1. Just read your blog. So thankful that the intricacies of the law helped the victim rather than the criminal.
    I wait with some degree of anxiety to see what actually transpires when McCarrick is supposed to appear in court on August 26. Will he show up? Will the Church find a way to protect him even now? Justice needs to be done both for the victims and for, in my opinion, the sake of McCarrick’s soul.
    Judy R.

  2. McCarrick is a product of the CULTure that produced him. The “white collar” wall of silence still continues today. Nothing will be accomplished unless, and until, the CULTure changes. In the meantime, the church continues to spend tens of millions of dollars fighting against legislative initiatives to hold them accountable…

    The church has abused our children, they’ve abused our families, they’ve abused our trust, they’ve abused our very faith…What’s left for them to abuse?

  3. No sane person would ever promise obedience and respect to a predator pedophile and all his successors. After all, many if not all of those successors would have been put in position to succeed him by the predator himself. It goes without saying that you wouldn’t have promised him and his close circle of cronies anything had you known. For even if you would have known only about the abuse of non-minor seminarians you wouldn’t have done it. And if the full truth about McCarrick was found out BEFORE Knestout became your bishop, you and any other reasonable man would have left for another diocese as soon as you heard news that next object of your promises was going to be a man who worked so closely with and owed so much of his career advancement to McCarrick.

    If a groom hid from the bride that he was a predator pedophile and the bride wanted an annulment, Bishop Barry wouldn’t be demanding that the bride honor her wedding vows—instead he’d have no problem supporting her contention that the marriage never occurred. No rational bishop looking at your situation would have the gall to hold promises made under false pretenses over your head. Even more galling, Knestout’s “non-denial denial” regarding McCarrick makes it look quite possible that he was sitting there, keeping quiet, while he allowed you and others to make those promises to McCarrick knowing full well he was an abuser (I don’t mean necessarily that Knestout knew about his abuse of minors.)

    Rather, a rational bishop in Knestout’s position would say something like, “Look, dude, I knew nothing about McCarrick, cross my heart, but I understand if you can’t believe that and thus can’t entrust your spiritual well-being to my authority. You didn’t choose to be caught up in this awful mess, and so if you don’t want to serve here in Richmond, which you’re every-bit welcome to continue doing, then I’ll help you to look for another diocese where you can serve the People of God to His greater glory.” That’s what class would sound like in this situation.

    The fact that Bishop Barry is acting so strangely contrary to this in your case, and with such over-the-top vindictiveness, is not only classless—it’s totally suspicious. It indicates the possibility that he and others are hiding something really, really bad, and he knows that you’re the only priest around who has the courage and integrity to force it out into the open.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s