Two new N.J. lawsuits sue McCarrick for abuse

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Anderson & Associates
Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, above, has been criminally charged in Massachusetts for allegedly abusing a teenager there in the 1970s.

NEWARK, NJ — The law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates has filed two new civil sexual battery lawsuits against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the Archdiocese of Newark, according to a Sept. 2 press release from the firm.

The lawsuit filed by JA DOE 60, a former employee of the Archdiocese of Newark, alleges that, in approximately 1991, McCarrick engaged in unpermitted sexual contact with the plaintiff and that the abuse allegedly occurred at the Archdiocese of Newark cathedral in Newark. McCarrick, who is 91 and currently living in Missouri, was ordained in 1958 and defrocked in 2019.

The second lawsuit, filed by Father Lauro Sedlmayer, alleges that Sedlmayer, a former N.J. priest who came to America from Brazil to expand his ministry, was sexually assaulted by his then-boss McCarrick and repeatedly reported the abuse. The suit also alleges that, on multiple occasions in approximately 1991, McCarrick engaged in unpermitted sexual contact with the plaintiff and former priest, and that the abuse allegedly occurred at McCarrick’s beach house.

Earlier this summer, a criminal complaint was filed July 28 against McCarrick in Dedham District Court in Massachusetts. The alleged abuse occurred in the 1970s during a wedding reception at Wellesley College, located in Wellesley, Mass. At the time of the alleged abuse, McCarrick was assigned to and living in the rectory at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

McCarrick pleaded not guilty in court in Massachusetts on Sept. 3. In addition to setting a $5,000 cash bail, the judge ordered McCarrick to have no contact with the alleged victim or any minors under the age of 18.

“The message of morality being sent in any court action by a courageous clergy sexual abuse victim or survivor should not be lost on the Catholic Church,” Mitchell Garabedian said Sept. 3 in a press statement. Garabedian, a Massachusetts attorney, has represented a large number of abuse victims in suits against the Catholic Church; he was instrumental in the filing of the criminal charges against McCarrick. “Today, history is being made. History that will not be forgotten.

“The trailblazing complainant is sending a direct message to the Catholic Church that its reign of sexual abuse by bishops and cardinals is going to be confronted head on,” he continued. “Pope Francis should reveal what the Catholic Church knows about bishops and cardinals sexually abusing children throughout history.”

McCarrick served as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark from 1987 to 2000 and offered sacraments at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark from 1989 to 2000. The Archdiocese of Newark serves the Catholic communities in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties.

This is not the first time McCarrick has been publicly named as an abuser. On Feb. 13, 2019, New Jersey’s five Roman Catholic dioceses released lists of priests who have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors in the past several decades. The Archdiocese of Newark released a list with 63 names on it, including McCarrick’s; all of the priests listed had either died or been removed from the ministry. 

Just three days after the New Jersey dioceses released their lists in February 2019, the Vatican announced that McCarrick, who had attained the title of cardinal, had been defrocked.

The criminal charges filed July 28 mark the first time McCarrick has ever faced criminal charges. McCarrick has been charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person older than 14; the charges were filed by the Wellesley Police Department. 

McCarrick has not been criminally charged in any of the prior cases largely because the statute of limitations has expired, as many cases date back to the 1970s and 1980s. The statute of limitations has not expired on the Massachusetts case because, since McCarrick was not a Massachusetts resident, the statute of limitations clock stopped running when he left the state.

The defrocked cardinal is the highest-ranking Catholic Church official ever in this country to be charged with sexually abusing a minor.

Back in 2018, when McCarrick was first publicly accused of sexual misconduct by the Catholic Church, he denied any wrongdoing. 

The charges against McCarrick are allegations. Under the law, McCarrick is presumed innocent unless or until he is found guilty in a court of law.

The charges against McCarrick are allegations. Under the law, McCarrick is presumed innocent unless or until he is found guilty in a court of law.

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