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Judge dismisses child sex abuse case against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick

Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, told reporters at the National Press Club last week Catholics can believe in evolution, just as long as God's involvement is acknowledged. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, told reporters at the National Press Club last week Catholics can believe in evolution, just as long as God's involvement is acknowledged. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

A judge has dismissed the child sex abuse case against former Catholic Church Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, concluding that the former archbishop of Washington is unfit to stand trial.

Judge Paul McCallum of the Dedham District Court in Massachusetts ruled on Wednesday to dismiss the case against the 93-year-old McCarrick, who had been charged with assaulting a 16-year-old boy named James Grein in 1974.

Experts for both the defense and the prosecution agreed that McCarrick was unable to provide his own defense, meaning that the case could not go forward, reports The Washington Post.

Grein, now a tennis coach in Virginia, released a statement in response to the dismissal, expressing disappointment with the judge's decision.

"I have trouble reconciling the concept that someone who is intelligent and articulate is also not competent to stand trial and answer for his actions," stated Grein.

"I brought the charges in this matter in the hope of finding justice in this court. Instead, McCarrick walks a free man and I am left with nothing."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, an organization originally founded to spread awareness of sex abuse within the Catholic Church, released a statement claiming that "a verdict of guilty would have been rendered had the case been allowed to proceed."

"Our hearts go out to McCarrick's accuser. We stand in solidarity with him and commend him for his pursuit of justice," stated SNAP.

"There is another case on behalf of the same survivor being prosecuted in Wisconsin. We hope that the courts in that state will reach a different decision, and finally allow this brave survivor his day in court."

A once prominent cardinal in the Catholic Church, in recent years, McCarrick has weathered multiple allegations that he engaged in sexual abuse and assault decades ago.

In 2018, McCarrick was ordered by the Vatican to halt performing his priestly ministry due to an allegation that he assaulted a boy twice, once in 1971 and again in 1972.

According to the complaint by the unnamed victim, McCarrick had allegedly first assaulted him while he was helping the cardinal be measured for a robe to wear for a Christmas mass in 1971.

The first U.S. cardinal and the second Catholic bishop to be criminally charged with abuse, McCarrick has long maintained his innocence and has cooperated with authorities. 

In November 2020, Vatican officials released a lengthy report detailing what church officials knew and when and how they acted upon the alleged actions of McCarrick.

While not focused on the alleged abuse of the former cardinal, the report also included extensive interviews with people described as "individuals who had direct physical contact with McCarrick."

"During extended interviews, often emotional, the persons described a range of behavior, including sexual abuse or assault, unwanted sexual activity, intimate physical contact and the sharing of beds without physical touching," stated the report's introduction.

"The interviews also included detailed accounts related to McCarrick's abuse of authority and power. The individuals' full accounts, which proved extraordinarily helpful to the examination, were carefully reviewed, were made available to Pope Francis and are preserved in the Holy See's archives." 

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