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Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 92, charged with sexual assault over alleged 1977 incident

Former Cardinal on trial for sex abuse of minors
Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on trial for sex abuse of minors 03:10

Theodore McCarrick, a defrocked former cardinal who once served as the archbishop of Washington D.C., is facing new sexual assault accusations tied to an alleged incident that occurred more than 40 years ago, authorities announced this week.

McCarrick, now 92, is charged in Wisconsin with one count of sexual assault in the fourth degree, the state's Department of Justice said in a news release issued on Monday. He is specifically charged in connection with a reported incident said to have taken place in April 1977 at a residence in Geneva Lake, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

"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," department officials wrote in Monday's release.

The sexual assault charge in Wisconsin, which follows multiple similar allegations against McCarrick, was brought in connection with a report originally filed to the Attorney General's Clergy and Faith Leader Abuse initiative, according to the Justice Department. 

"Thank you to the brave survivors who have made reports through the clergy and faith leader abuse initiative," said Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul in a statement. "I encourage other survivors who have not yet reported to consider speaking to the victim services specialist at DOJ who is dedicated to this initiative and to make a report."

McCarrick pleaded not guilty in September 2021 to separate sexual assault charges filed against him in Massachusetts. Those charges, which included three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or older, stemmed from his alleged sexual assault of a teenage boy during a wedding reception at Wellesley College in the 1970s. He first became an auxiliary bishop in the New York archdiocese in 1977, before being named bishop of the diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey and later archbishop of Newark.

When McCarrick entered the guilty plea in Boston court, a judge ordered him to post $5,000 bail and barred him from contacting the accuser as well as anyone else under the age of 18, "CBS Mornings" reported at the time. This past February, attorneys representing the disgraced former religious leader filed a motion to dismiss the Massachusetts case, saying that McCarrick had dementia and was not competent to stand trial, according to the Associated Press.

Once considered the most powerful cardinal in the United States, McCarrick was stripped of his titles and defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019, based on evidence that suggested he had sexually abused children and seminary students for decades. One year earlier, the Vatican had released a report that said former Pope John Paul II, who had made McCarrick a cardinal and archbishop of Washington, D.C., knew about the allegations and ignored them.

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