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Massachusetts Expert Finds McCarrick Incompetent to Stand Trial on Abuse Charges

Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick wears a mask during arraignment at Dedham District Court in Dedham, Mass., Sept. 3, 2021, after being charged with molesting a 16-year-old boy during a 1974 wedding reception. (OSV News photo/David L Ryan, Pool via Reuters)

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — An expert hired by the state of Massachusetts to conduct an evaluation of Theodore McCarrick recently concluded that the ex-cardinal is not competent to stand trial on the criminal sex abuse charges against him in the state.

The expert returned the competency report to Dedham District Court this week, according to a June 29 news release from the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office. The report could lead to a dismissal of the first criminal sex abuse charges brought against McCarrick.

McCarrick was criminally charged in July 2021 with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, stemming from the alleged sexual assault of a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception at Wellesley College on June 8, 1974.

The alleged victim has been identified, first by in February, as James, a now-64-year-old former New Jersey resident, who went public with his allegations in a 2018 interview with The New York Times. However, the story only identified him by his first name.

McCarrick appeared in person for his arraignment in the case at Dedham District Court on Sept. 3, 2021, which was his first public appearance since 2018. His presence for the subsequent pretrial hearings was waived. He was released at his arraignment on four conditions: He paid $5,000 cash bail, has no contact with the alleged victim or anyone under 18, doesn’t leave the United States, and surrenders his passport.

McCarrick has denied the allegations.

Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick arrives at Dedham District Court in Dedham, Mass., Sept. 3, 2021, after being charged with molesting a 16-year-old boy during a 1974 wedding reception. A medical expert consulted by Massachusetts prosecutors says McCarrick is not competent to stand trial. (OSV News photo/Brian Snyder, Reuters)

This past February, McCarrick’s legal counsel filed a motion to dismiss all pending charges based on the findings of a competency report. The assistant district attorney then told the judge the state would hire its own expert to assess McCarrick’s competency, which is the report that was recently completed and returned to Dedham District Court.

The Norfolk District Attorney’s Office said that the “report is lengthy,” and the court has set a date of Aug. 30 for a hearing on the available reports, which may include testimony from the expert. The name of the expert and the report itself have not been made public.

According to Massachusetts state law, “If the defendant is found incompetent to stand trial, trial of the case shall be stayed until such time as the defendant becomes competent to stand trial, unless the case is dismissed.”

Neither Barry Coburn, a lawyer for McCarrick, nor Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer for the alleged victim, could immediately be reached for comment on the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office announcement.

McCarrick was separately charged with one count of fourth-degree sexual assault in Wisconsin for an incident that allegedly occurred in April of 1977.

According to the April announcement from Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld, the complaint alleges McCarrick engaged in repeated sexual abuse of the victim over time, “including the charged incident that involved the alleged fondling of a victim while staying as a guest at a Geneva Lake residence.”

McCarrick remains the only former or current U.S. cardinal to be charged criminally with sexual abuse. Pope Francis laicized McCarrick in 2019 after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused both minors and adults.