National News

Ex-Cardinal McCarrick Charged With Sexual Assault in Wisconsin

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — While a verdict on assault and battery charges against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick remains in limbo in a Massachusetts court, another criminal charge of sexual assault has been levied against the disgraced cleric, this time in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld announced on April 16 that McCarrick, 92, has been charged with one count of fourth-degree sexual assault for an incident that occurred in April of 1977.

Then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick arrives for Ash Wednesday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in this Feb. 13, 2013 file photo. (Photo: Catholic News Service)

According to the announcement, the complaint alleges McCarrick engaged in repeated sexual abuse of the victim over time, including while staying as a guest at a Geneva Lake residence.

Geneva Lake is located in southern Wisconsin in Walworth County, about 70 miles outside the state capital, Madison.

The name of the alleged victim/survivor was not made public.

In a statement, Kaul thanked all victims/survivors who have come forward through the state’s Faith Leader Abuse initiative and encouraged others to do so. The initiative has a stated goal to “provide victims and survivors with an independent and thorough review of the sexual abuse committed by clergy and faith leaders in Wisconsin, no matter when that abuse occurred.”

“I encourage other survivors who have not yet reported to consider speaking to the victim services specialist at DOJ who is dedicated to this initiative and to make a report,” Kaul said.

McCarrick was laicized by Pope Francis in 2019 after a Vatican investigation found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adults, including seminarians.

In July 2021, McCarrick became the first current or former U.S. Cardinal criminally charged with a sexual crime against a minor, when he was charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 in Dedham District Court in Massachusetts.

McCarrick pleaded not guilty to the charges and has denied the allegations. The case is ongoing.

The new charge in Wisconsin was the result of an investigation by the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and will be prosecuted by Wiedenfeld, according to the announcement.