VICTORIA, Kan. (ChurchMilitant.com) - One year after being exiled to rural Kansas, serial sexual predator Theodore McCarrick remains unrepentant.
In an Aug. 14 interview with Slate staff writer Ruth Graham, the disgraced former cardinal refused to acknowledge his guilt, offering instead vague denials of wrongdoing.
"I'm not as bad as they paint me," he said. "I do not believe that I did the things that they accused me of."
Reportedly, McCarrick specifically addressed only one allegation — that he groped victim James Grein while hearing his confession.
"The thing about the confession, it's a horrible thing," he said. "I was a priest for 60 years, and I would never have done anything like that. … That was horrible, to take the holy sacrament and to make it a sinful thing."
Speaking to Church Militant on Wednesday, Grein dismissed his abuser's claim, saying simply: "My work, my life speaks for itself. McCarrick is unsupervised and wandering the Kansas neighborhood, worrying women and children."
In the wake of recent changes to New York's statute of limitations, Grein announced last month that he will sue the archdiocese of New York for facilitating his abuse. His attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, added that Grein will sue McCarrick personally once changes to New Jersey's statute of limitations take effect in December.
When asked to comment on McCarrick's ongoing denial of guilt, Garabedian responded: "Father McCarrick's claim that he did not sexually abuse James Grein in the confessional rings hollow given that McCarrick has shown himself to be a child molester without a conscience."
In her interview, Graham pressed McCarrick to explain multiple corroborating allegations that he assaulted seminarians at his Jersey Shore beach house.
"How did they come up with such similar stories?" she asked.
"I think that they were encouraged to do that," McCarrick answered. "There were many who were in that situation who never had any problems like that."
"This was a point he made several times: that plenty of young men had come to the beach house and had no problems there," Graham noted. "He couldn't have done it, in other words, because look at all the people he didn't harass. As for who would have orchestrated such a campaign, he declined to name names, but referred vaguely to 'enemies.'"
One such "enemy," former papal nuncio to the United States Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò, personally informed Pope Francis of the ex-cleric's serial homosexual abuse. In his bombshell August 2018 testimony, Viganò recounted telling Francis: "Holy Father, I don't know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance."
When pressed for comment on Viganò's allegations, McCarrick said simply: "He was talking as a representative of the far right, I think. I don't want to say he's a liar, but I think some of the bishops have said that he was not telling the truth."
In January, Viganò penned an open letter to the 89-year-old McCarrick, urging him to publicly repent of his sins.
"Time is running out, but you can confess and repent of your sins, crimes and sacrileges, and do so publicly, since they have themselves become public," he warned. "Your eternal salvation is at stake."
McCarrick remains defiant.