Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick — the highest-ranking Roman Catholic official in the US to ever be charged with child sex crimes — on Friday pleaded not guilty to abusing a 16-year-old boy in Massachusetts nearly 50 years ago.
An attorney for McCarrick, 91, entered the plea on his behalf in Dedham District Court outside Boston.
“Shame on you!,” a protestor yelled as the masked defendant entered the courthouse with the assistance of a walker.
The former Archbishop of Newark did not speak during the hearing. He was released on $5,000 bail and was ordered to stay away from the alleged victim and any minors.
McCarrick — who was kicked out of the priesthood over sex abuse allegations — faces three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14. Massachusetts statute of limitations does not apply to the 1974 allegation because the disgraced former Cardinal does not live in the state.
The accuser said McCarrick approached him at his brother’s wedding reception and said his father wanted the then-priest to talk to him because he was “being mischievous at home and not attending church.”
McCarrick then allegedly groped the boy during a walk before sexually assaulting him in a “coat room type closet” at the reception, according to prosecutors.
After the attack, McCarrick allegedly told the boy to “say three Our Fathers and a Hail Mary or it was one Our Father and three Hail Marys, so God can redeem you of your sins,” prosecutors said.
“Today’s arraignment provides hope for many clergy sex abuse victims and survivors that justice will prevail, truth will be told and children will be kept safe,” said the accuser’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, a longtime advocate for church sex abuse victims.
McCarrick was defrocked in 2019 by Pope Francis, two years after a former New York alter boy accused him of abuse. Two New Jersey dioceses then disclosed they had settled sexual misconduct claims against him levied by adults, leading to a Vatican investigation that found the high profile leader was guilty of widespread abuse.
McCarrick is the first US cardinal to be charged with sex crimes. Cardinals in France and Australia have been convicted, but the verdicts were later overturned or thrown out.
With Post wires