Cover-Up Culture Gave McCarrick License

News: US News
by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  •  August 14, 2020   

New investigation sheds light on old crimes

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NEWARK, N.J. ( - New details are emerging regarding the Church hierarchy's cover-up of notorious homosexual pederast Theodore McCarrick, freeing the former cardinal to continue with his crimes unabated.

Mark Crawford and Fr. Kenneth Martin

An investigative analysis published on Monday reveals that Vatican officials and other prelates ignored or overlooked reports on McCarrick's misdeeds and odd sleeping arrangements with seminarians at his infamous beach house in Sea Girt, New Jersey.

Now working for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Mark Crawford met with McCarrick in 1997 to inform the then-archbishop of Newark that Fr. Kenneth Martin had beaten and sexually abused him and his brother. McCarrick did not keep any of the promises he made during that meeting so Crawford wrote the U.S. cardinals in 1998 for help.

Of the few cardinals who responded, two are well-known for cover-up and shuffling around wayward clergy in their own dioceses — Cdl. Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and now-deceased Cdl. Bernard Law of Boston.

Mahony assured Crawford that McCarrick is "greatly concerned about all these problems and issues, and I know that you can rely upon him to be attentive to these pastoral needs." Law told Crawford that "Your pain and frustration is (sic) familiar to me because I have had to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct by clergy," and asked Crawford to "pray for the leaders of the Church, that we might do God's will whenever this awful problem occurs."

More Recent Cover-Up

While Cdl. Joseph Tobin of the Newark archdiocese (a well-documented supporter of homosexuality) admitted the archdiocese and the Metuchen diocese reached settlements in 2005 and 2007 with two seminarians over claims against McCarrick, he chose not to discuss new information with a clergy investigator and then later accused the investigator of concealing information.

Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo told that he met with Tobin in 2018 to present the prelate with letters pertinent to the McCarrick investigation. Figueiredo reports that Tobin said, "This was not the time to discuss that."

Cdl. Joseph Tobin

The archdiocese released a statement saying, "Cdl. Tobin has not seen the contents of the letters to which you refer, and it would be inappropriate to comment on them without seeing them. Information and correspondence publicly released or information still not made public by Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo properly belong to the Holy See to investigate."

When Figueiredo posted the letters, Tobin wrote to him, claiming, "I had no idea that you had all of this information. From the excerpts that you had published, I am concerned by your longstanding knowledge of some very grave facts, which you failed to disclose earlier."

Three lawsuits naming McCarrick as a sex abuser are pending in New Jersey. The most recent alleges the disgraced former prelate ran a sex ring from his beach house in Sea Girt. Other pederast clergy predators would procure victims in an operation overseen by McCarrick, whom they called "the boss," according to the lawsuit.

The most recent alleges the disgraced former prelate ran a sex ring from his beach house in Sea Girt.

McCarrick apparently set the tone for his own cover-up as well as that of other sex abusers. In 2002, McCarrick, who was archbishop of Washington, D.C. at the time, said, "I'm saying this; the other bishops aren't. I'm saying zero tolerance prospectively; everybody is on the same page. If this ever happens again, that's it."

Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo

Michael Reading, a former priest who experienced McCarrick's odd behavior at the beach house as a seminarian, said, "We knew that you needed to be in favor with the archbishop [i.e., McCarrick], and I was not in favor." As a seminarian in 1986, Reading was invited to the beach house where McCarrick watched him change into a bathing suit and put his hand under it in front of other seminarians when they were at the beach.

Like so many others who either experienced McCarrick's misdeeds firsthand or heard rumors, nobody talked about it. As a young seminarian, Reading said, "I didn't know there was a way to report anything."

But the hierarchy does know and fostered a culture that permitted McCarrick to continue with his misdeeds until hiding it became impossible.

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