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    Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Charged With Sexual Assault

    Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, once one of the most powerful leaders in the U.S. Catholic Church, has been charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy in Massachusetts in 1974.

    Mr. McCarrick, 91 years old, was charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery in a criminal complaint issued in District Court in Dedham, Mass., on Wednesday. He is the first current or former U.S. cardinal to be charged with sex crimes.

    “We will look forward to addressing this case in the courtroom,” Barry Coburn, a lawyer for Mr. McCarrick, said in a statement.

    Mr. McCarrick was defrocked in 2019 after he was found guilty of sexual abuse of minors and sexual misconduct with adults in a trial at the Vatican.

    Under Massachusetts law, the statute of limitations for sex crimes is suspended when the alleged abuser, if not a Massachusetts resident, leaves the state after the alleged abuse, said Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer for the alleged victim, whose name is redacted from court documents.

    The complaint alleges that Mr. McCarrick, a priest who was friends with the victim’s family at the time, called the 16-year-old out of his sister’s wedding reception at Wellesley College, saying, “your dad wants you [to] come out with me and have a talk. You’re being mischievous at home and not attending church.” The priest then allegedly fondled the boy’s genitals repeatedly while saying prayers.

    The alleged victim said that Mr. McCarrick abused him for years, starting when he was a young boy and into adulthood, in New Jersey, New York, California and Massachusetts.

    The downfall of Mr. McCarrick, who served as archbishop of Washington, D.C., from 2000 to 2006, led to one of the major scandals of the current pontificate, after a formal papal envoy to the U.S. accused

    Pope Francis

    of overlooking his record of sexual misconduct.

    A Vatican report released last year contained evidence that the current pope and his two predecessors,

    St. John Paul II

    and Pope

    Benedict XVI,

    failed for years to discipline then-Cardinal McCarrick.

    The charges against Mr. McCarrick were earlier reported by the Boston Globe.

    Write to Francis X. Rocca at francis.rocca@wsj.com

    Jimmy Pliska, of Scranton, Pa., is one of those who are seeking compensation from the church for sexual abuse that happened many years ago. If he accepts a settlement, he fears he may never know the truth about his alleged abuser. (Video published July 11, 2019) Photo: Alexander Hotz/WSJ.

    Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

    Appeared in the July 30, 2021, print edition as ‘Former Cardinal McCarrick Is Charged.’

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