US FORMER CARDINAL MCCARRICK EXCOMMUNICATED FROM PRIESTHOOD
A former Roman Catholic cardinal has been defrocked after historic sexual abuse allegations.
Theodore McCarrick is the most high-profile Catholic figure to be dismissed from the priesthood in modern times.
US Church officials said allegations he had sexually assaulted a teenager five decades ago were credible.
Mr McCarrick, 88, had previously resigned but said he had “no recollection” of the alleged abuse.
The alleged abuses may have taken place too long ago for criminal charges to be filed because of the US statute of limitations.
Mr McCarrick was the archbishop of Washington DC from 2001 to 2006. Since his resignation last year from the College of Cardinals, he has been living in seclusion in a monastery in Kansas.
He was the first person to resign as a cardinal since 1927.
He is among hundreds of members of the clergy accused of sexually abusing children over several decades and his dismissal comes days before the Vatican hosts a summit on preventing child abuse.
The Vatican said Pope Francis had ruled Mr McCarrick’s expulsion from the clergy as definitive, and would not allow any further appeals against the decision.
Mr McCarrick is alleged to have assaulted the teenager while working as a priest in New York in the early 1970s. The claims were made public by the current Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
He said an independent forensic agency had investigated the allegations. A review board, including legal experts, psychologists, parents and a priest, then found the allegations “credible and substantiated”.
At the time, Mr McCarrick said in a statement that had “no recollection of this reported abuse” and believed in his innocence.
Several more men have since said the cleric forced them to sleep with him at a beach house in New Jersey, while they studied for the priesthood as adult seminarians. One man has come forward saying he was assaulted while still a minor.
It has also since emerged that financial settlements were reached in at least two cases of alleged sexual misconduct with adults involving Mr McCarrick.
They involved “allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago”, while he was working as a bishop in New Jersey, bishops in the state told US media.