A disturbing revelation emerges as a top Cardinal, once an influential figure in the Catholic Church, avoids trial for alleged sexual assault spanning decades with teenage boys. Here’s why.
In a stunning turn of events, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, once a powerful figure in the Roman Catholic Church, will avoid trial for alleged sexual assault on a teenage boy going back decades.
Unfit to Stand Trial
The case against the 93-year-old was dropped by a Massachusetts judge on Wednesday, with both prosecutors and defense lawyers agreeing that his dementia made him unfit to stand trial.
The scandal surrounding McCarrick’s actions led to his defrocking by Pope Francis in 2019, after an internal investigation by the Vatican concluded that he had sexually molested both adults and children.
The fallout from the McCarrick scandal shook the credibility of the church. Disturbingly, evidence suggested that leaders from the Vatican and the U.S. church hierarchy had knowledge of his misconduct, yet they turned a blind eye as McCarrick continued to rise in prominence, becoming a successful fundraiser and advisor to three popes.
Dementia as a Defense
During the court hearing, Dr. Kerry Nelligan, a psychologist hired by the prosecution, revealed the findings about McCarrick’s memory during two interviews conducted in June.
A Struggle to Remember
It was apparent that he struggled to recall discussions from just an hour prior, indicating significant flaws in his cognitive functions.
Dr. Nelligan explained that dementia, much like the one afflicting McCarrick, doesn’t respond to medications for improvement.
“It’s not just about his current memory issues,” Dr. Nelligan emphasized. “There’s no way they will improve.” This memory impairment left McCarrick unable to understand questions or work with his legal team for his defense.
McCarrick’s presence at the hearing appeared via a video link.
He was seen slightly slouched in his chair, dressed in a light green shirt with what seemed to be a gray sweater vest or sweater draped around his shoulders. Throughout the hearing, he remained silent.
The charges McCarrick faced centered on allegations of abuse against a teenage boy during a wedding reception at Wellesley College in 1974.
Throughout the legal process, McCarrick proclaimed his innocence and entered a not-guilty plea in September 2021.
In April, he faced further charges of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man in Wisconsin more than 45 years ago.
Case Dismissal Bid
In February, McCarrick’s legal team submitted a request to dismiss the case, with the backing of a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professor specializing in psychiatry and behavioral science.
This evaluation concluded that McCarrick suffered from dementia, potentially Alzheimer’s disease.
At that time, his attorneys stated that McCarrick had a limited understanding of the criminal proceedings against him.
Living in Dittmer, Missouri, McCarrick faced charges of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14.
Despite the time-lapse, he was not exempt from facing these allegations, as the statute of limitations was paused when he left Massachusetts.
Legacy of Evil
Specialist Lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, well-known for representing victims of clergy sexual abuse, spoke on behalf of the victim.
In June, he said his client was disappointed by the findings saying “Despite today’s decision by the criminal court, many victims of clergy sexual abuse continue to view the former Cardinal as an ongoing symbol of evil within the Catholic Church.”
Abuse Spanning Years
The accuser recalled events during a 2021 interview with authorities and said that McCarrick had a close relationship with his family during his childhood.
Prosecutors revealed that McCarrick frequently joined the family gatherings and accompanied them on vacations, resulting in him being nicknamed “Uncle Ted.”
Coat Room Antics
Prosecutors claimed that McCarrick’s abuse persisted over many years, including a coat room incident at a family wedding when the accuser was just a teenager.
Prosecutors alleged that McCarrick instructed the young man to recite the “Hail Mary” and “Our Father” prayers before departing from the room.
Soon after the story broke on X (formerly known as Twitter), the comments flew in.
Marie wrote “Incompetent to stand trial at 94, but he sure wasn’t incompetent when he abused a 16-year-old boy, was he?! Pure Bull! “
Gifted article. “Because churches are the REAL groomers!”
Hugh Hewitt posted “But the question remains why clear warnings about McCarrick went unheeded for so long.
Questions were raised as to why the investigation into McCarrick shouldn’t end with the prosecutors’ decision.
Additional viewpoints included: “I wonder how long this despicable excuse for a holy man, has been fighting complaints and lawsuits brought against him for sexual abuse, etc? How many government officials and judges did he bribe?”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Riccardo De Luca – Update. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.