Alleged Theodore McCarrick victim says he is helping fact-check abuse dossier
CNA Staff, Jun 10, 2020 / 03:30 pm MT (CNA).- An anonymous alleged sexual abuse victim of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick says he and other alleged victims have been working with the Vatican to fact-check the comprehensive dossier on McCarrick’s misdeeds.
The alleged victim, writing under the name Nathan Doe, says he was one of several minors that McCarrick abused, and that he had previously collaborated with Church authorities to provide evidence during the canonical penal administrative process which resulted in McCarrick’s 2019 laicization.
He says early in 2020, “persons tasked by the Holy See with investigating McCarrick’s career” reached out to him and several other alleged victims to ask if they would be willing to provide facts and information to ensure the report’s accuracy.
“Time will tell, but nothing in my experience thus far indicates any type of cover-up or attempt to minimize anything by anyone involved in the Holy See’s investigation,” Doe writes in a June 5 blog post.
“In fact, my experience has been quite the opposite. The questions that I have been asked have been detailed, searching, and seemingly intent on uncovering truth. There has been a lot of fact-checking and cross-referencing of information. I was actually surprised by the level of due diligence I witnessed.”
In October 2018, just months after sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick first emerged, the Vatican said that Pope Francis had commissioned a study of McCarrick’s career.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston told the U.S. bishops’ conference during Nov. 2019 that the Vatican intended to publish the report “soon, if not before Christmas, soon in the new year.”
The report— still, to date, not yet released— has “taken longer than anyone expected,” Doe wrote.
“I don’t believe any of those Cardinals were trying to mislead anyone. I just think they believed that what they were saying was true,” Doe wrote.
Doe says he initially was skeptical and uncomfortable reliving his abuse for a second time, having already submitted to lengthy interviews about his experience for the canonical process.
However, he expressed hope that the fact-checking process would ultimately produce a truthful, comprehensive report.
“Based on what I have seen with my own eyes, the Holy See’s investigation looks to me like a genuine search for the truth. In my opinion, if the purpose of the investigation was to whitewash or cover-up any facts, they would not be asking the questions that they have been asking,” Doe wrote.
“I will continue to wait, patiently and faithfully, for that difficult but cathartic moment when the report is finally issued because I know that, ultimately, the Universal Catholic Church will be better for it,” he concluded.
Doe first spoke out late last year in an essay published online.
In the original Oct. 2019 essay, he said that in addition to widely reported seminary-related allegations against the former Cardinal, McCarrick had also abused a group of at least seven boys under the age of 16 as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.
“Collectively, we were able to provide law enforcement with names, dates, times, locations, who was present, supporting evidence, and related documentation covering hundreds of Church-related or fundraising-related overnight trips between the years 1970 and 1990 that, as fate would have it, all resulted in McCarrick sharing a bed with a young Catholic boy.”
A source with knowledge of the Vatican investigation into McCarrick told CNA last year that the former cardinal is alleged to have regularly invited high school boys to accompany him on trips between 1971-1977, when he served as secretary to Cardinal Terrence Cooke, then-Archbishop of New York.
During that same period, McCarrick already had a well-established reputation among seminarians as a predator, CNA’s reporting has found.
Some senior Church officials have told CNA that McCarrick was under consideration for an influential Vatican post in 1999; concerns about the former cardinal’s lifestyle are rumored to have played a role in scuttling that plan. McCarrick was nevertheless appointed Washington’s archbishop in 2000, where he continued to serve until his retirement in 2006.
The legal situation in some of McCarrick’s former dioceses suggests that some bishops might have reasons to consider asking the Vatican, privately, that the release of the McCarrick report be postponed.
New York is in the midst of a “window” that allows lawsuits related to sexual abuse that fall beyond the normal statute of limitations, which is set to close in August 2020.
New Jersey is also in a statute of limitations window, set to end in 2021. McCarrick served as a bishop in both New York and New Jersey, during the period in which he committed acts of sexual abuse and coercion.