Another man has come forward to say Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sexually abused him starting when he was 11, allegations the New York Times is calling “the most explosive yet” against the retired liberal cardinal.
On Thursday, the Times published the testimony of a man named James, who “asked that his last name be withheld to protect a sibling.” McCarrick was removed from public ministry last month over a credible allegation he molested an altar boy decades ago as Archbishop of New York. This is the second allegation of McCarrick abusing a minor; priests and seminarians say he abused them when they were adults.
McCarrick was a close family friend, James recalled to the New York Times. According to the New York Times reporter, James says he “tried to tell his father that he was being abused when he was 15 or 16. But Father McCarrick was so beloved by his family, he said, and considered so holy, that the idea was unfathomable.”
A biological uncle (McCarrick himself went by “Uncle Teddy”) also advised James to “take the secret [of the abuse] to his grave.”
James started using drugs and alcohol as a teenager, something his sister says makes a lot of sense now knowing about the abuse that was occurring.
The abuse began when then-Father McCarrick came into James’ bedroom looking for the bathroom:
“He said, turn around,” James, who is now 60, recalled in an interview last week. “And I really don’t want to, because I don’t want to show anybody anything.” But he did, he said, and was shocked when Father McCarrick dropped his pants, too. “See, we are the same,” James said he told him. “It’s O.K., we are the same.”
That abuse escalated over James’ adolescence even though his family moved away to California. McCarrick “visited repeatedly.” When he was 13, “the priest first touched his penis.”
“At 14, he said, Father McCarrick masturbated him in a beach parking lot,” the New York Times reported. “When he was 15, James said, Father McCarrick took him to a restaurant in San Francisco, the Tonga Room, and poured vodka in his drinks. He then brought him back to his hotel room and masturbated him and brought himself to orgasm, James said.”
The abuse included fishing trips on which McCarrick would sleep naked with James and touch him, being called into McCarrick’s hotel room once he was made a bishop, and staying overnight in the bishop’s rectory when he was stationed in Metuchen, New Jersey. In the early 2000s, the Diocese of Metuchen was one of the New Jersey dioceses that paid a settlement to a former priest who had been abused by McCarrick. One of the conditions of that settlement was that he keep quiet.
The article describes James as a man deeply broken by McCarrick’s abuse:
The last time he visited Archbishop McCarrick, in 1989, he asked for money, he said; McCarrick refused, and never called him again. By then, James was 31.
Instead of feeling relief, James said, he spiraled downward. “I am done,” he said. “He has thrown me away.”
His marriage fell apart, and in 1991, he said, he attempted suicide. He landed in detox and has been sober since, he said.
James now lives in Loudoun County, Virginia, where he has filed a police report that his lawyer says “will be forwarded to sex crimes investigators in San Francisco, New Jersey and possibly New York.”
“He will also seek compensation from the church,” the Times reported, in what may be an indication of a new onslaught of sex abuse settlements the Catholic Church could be forced to pay for the atrocious actions of its predatory leadership.
The tidal wave of accusations against McCarrick and revelations about the two settlements already paid to adult victims has raised questions about who in the Church hierarchy – both in the U.S. and at the Vatican – knew, when they knew, and why they remained silent as the abuse continued. Whistleblowers say they told Church officials over the years. One priest, who told the Times he reported allegations against McCarrick for 30 years with no avail, even in 2015 informed Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley – the prelate in charge of a new commission on sexual abuse of children – who apparently did nothing.