DEDHAM, Mass. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Theodore McCarrick is pleading 'not guilty' to three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14.
The defrocked former cardinal sat hump-backed and silent in Dedham District Court on Friday, where a 'not guilty' plea was entered on his behalf. McCarrick appeared frail, entering the courtroom with a walker, and did not speak during the proceedings.
The court ordered McCarrick to pay $5,000 cash bail, to stay away from his accuser, to have no contact with any children under 18, not to travel outside the United States, to surrender his passport, to notify the court if he changes his address and to see the probation department before he left the court.
Defrocked former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleads 'not guilty' to three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14. Victims hope this marks a new phase in bishop accountability. pic.twitter.com/izuY4sd2IT— Kristine Eidson Christlieb (@kchristlieb817) September 3, 2021
After the judge's orders a Boston law professor told Church Militant the surrender of the passport was important. She said many in Boston saw Cdl. Bernard Francis Law's 2002 resignation over clergy sex abuse cover-up and his subsequent appointment in Rome as a kind of flight from justice.
"No one wants to see that happen again," she said.
Following McCarrick's arraignment, Anne Barrett Doyle, speaking on behalf of bishop-accountability.org, told reporters she hoped the day's proceedings marked "a new phase in the global struggle to hold bishops accountable."
It was at Church Militant's Nov. 18, 2018 "Silence Stops Now" rally in Baltimore, Maryland that McCarrick's victim — whose allegations led to Friday's arraignment — first publicly revealed himself, detailing some of the abuse he had suffered at the former cardinal's hands. The rally was held across the street from the Marriott Waterfront Hotel, in full view of the bishops during their annual conference.
McCarrick's accuser traveled to Massachusetts Friday to attend the former cardinal's arraignment, where he was supported by friends and family. He told Church Militant he had received hundreds of prayer messages, including from bishops and at least one cardinal.
The victim, who has not seen or spoken to McCarrick since 2012, told Church Militant he was eager to look into McCarrick's eyes.
McCarrick's 'not guilty' plea reveals his refusal to this day to admit any wrongdoing, in contrast to the Church's assessment in 2019 that McCarrick was guilty of "solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power."
Friday's court proceeding included the claim that McCarrick had "immersed himself into the family" and used confession as a ploy to get the victim away from his family.
The Holy See's official report on McCarrick, released in November 2020, was widely criticized and included no mention of Grein's accusations of abuse, which are what ultimately led to the cardinal's laicization.
McCarrick lives in Dittmer, Missouri, at a facility that includes convicted pedophiles. He will be traveling back to Massachusetts on October 28 for trial, the next step in his prosecution.
In Doyle's statement, she had a message for American prosecutors: "Try harder." She encouraged prosecutors to be resourceful in leveraging the law on behalf of victims the way it was leveraged in Dedham Friday.