By Rhina Guidos
WASHINGTON (CNS) — A firm that has filed previous legal complaints against former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick and church entities added another complainant July 21 against the laicized prelate, leveling a new accusation that he allegedly abused its new client as a boy at a beach house in Sea Girt, New Jersey, in the early 1980s.
In a July 22 news conference via Zoom, Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson & Associates of St. Paul, Minnesota, announced a new lawsuit he said was filed in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Jersey. He said his client, named only as John Doe 14, was groomed by a priest and “procured” for McCarrick when he was bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey.
Anderson said the new complaint identifies at least seven children who were “groomed by others for McCarrick,” and in addition to McCarrick it names several Catholic entities as defendants including the Diocese of Metuchen, the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, and Essex Catholic Boys High School, which closed in 2003.
The suit alleges that at age 11, the boy began to be sexually abused in 1978 by a priest at a New Jersey parish and the abuse continued at the hands of another cleric at the Catholic high school he attended, and then with McCarrick in 1982.
“While we have not yet received the complaint, our prayers are with all survivors of abuse, today and always, and we stand with them in their journey toward healing and hope,” said Anthony P. Kearns III, spokesperson and chancellor for the Diocese of Metuchen in a July 22 statement.
“With God’s grace, all survivors of abuse, particularly those wounded by members of the church, will continue to heal and move forward,” Kearns said. “Our diocese renews our commitment to prevent these types of abuse from ever happening again.”
The diocese also encouraged anyone harmed by clergy in New Jersey to notify law enforcement.
The Archdiocese of Newark, in a statement July 22, said it would not discuss or comment on matters in litigation.
“The Archdiocese of Newark remains fully committed to transparency and to our long-standing programs to protect the faithful and will continue to work with victims, their legal representatives and law enforcement authorities in an ongoing effort to resolve allegations and bring closure to victims,” it said.
Last November, when the U.S. bishops met for their annual fall meeting in Baltimore, Boston’s Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley gave the U.S. prelates a brief update about the status of a report that may reveal what the Vatican knew about the ascent to power of now-disgraced former U.S. cardinal. He said that it was taking longer than previously believed because it involved various dioceses and that perhaps it would be made public by Christmas, or the New Year, but that has not happened.
McCarrick was dismissed by the Vatican from the clerical state in February 2019 following an investigation of accusations that he had abused children early on in his career of more than 60 years as a cleric and that he also had abused seminarians as a bishop.
“We made it clear to Cardinal (Pietro) Parolin at the leadership of the curia that the priests and the people of our country are anxious to receive the Holy See’s explanation of this tragic situation, how he could become an archbishop and cardinal, who knew what and when,” Cardinal O’Malley said of meeting with the Vatican secretary of state in early November.