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Op-Ed: McCarrick-on-Geneva Lake, Wisconsin

theodore mccarrick
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick speaking on “International Human Rights After September 11.” recorded April 26, 2002. Image credit: The City Club of Cleveland / YouTube.

LAKE GENEVA, WI –  According to an April 16 statement from the Wisconsin Department of Justice:

Attorney General Josh Kaul and Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld today announced that defrocked former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, age 92, has been charged with one count of Fourth-Degree Sexual Assault for an incident that occurred in April of 1977.

The charge in this case stems from a report made to the Attorney General’s Clergy and Faith Leader Abuse initiative. The complaint alleges that McCarrick engaged in repeated sexual abuse of the victim over time, including the charged incident that involved the alleged fondling of the victim’s genitals while staying as a guest at a Geneva Lake residence.

The alleged victim is James Grein, who in the last several years has been interviewed by various media outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

It’s noteworthy – but not being reported by most media outlets at present – that the unnamed accomplice of McCarrick during the alleged incident was Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who died in 1996. Grein said in a 2019 interview with Catholic commentator Michael Voris that both McCarrick and Bernardin participated in the sexual assault.

In 2020 I wrote about my minor role in exposing McCarrick. My name is mentioned 17 times in the Vatican’s 449-page ‘Report on the Holy See’s Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017).’ (See pages 234 to 244 and 280 to 283.) 

McCarrick, who was one of the most powerful and politically-connected prelates in the U.S., was defrocked in 2019 by Pope Francis after being found “guilty of solicitation during the Sacrament of Confession and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

The allegations against McCarrick reportedly “have come from 14 victims who were minors at the time and at least five adults, including clergy and seminarians.”

The information I wrote about beginning in 2005 pertained to McCarrick’s coercively sharing a bed with seminarians he favored, which constituted an abuse of power. It was, I came to find out, an open secret among several people in the Church and in the mainstream media. However, it wasn’t until the Archdiocese of New York substantiated an allegation made against McCarrick of the sexual abuse of a minor that the dominoes began to fall, so to speak.

I need to emphasize that we should thank the male victim — whose identity I don’t know — who came forward to the archdiocese in 2017 with enough evidence that his allegation was believed. This was not a given. The archdiocese’s review board could have easily dismissed the victim’s allegation as lacking credibility or sufficient evidence due to McCarrick being held in high esteem by various Church officials and politicians for so long. (I can’t help but wonder if this has occurred in the Archdiocese of Chicago, even in recent times. But I digress…)

At any rate, I’m glad McCarrick is now facing the music before his passing — more so than the late moral monster Marcial Maciel.

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