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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Earlier this week, it emerged that in 2005, Opus Dei shelled out almost $1 million to settle a complaint against one of its own — celebrity priest Fr. C. John McCloskey.
The Washington Post reported Monday that a D.C.-area woman was repeatedly groped by Fr. McCloskey when she was receiving spiritual direction through the city's Catholic Information Center (CIC). She said she later struggled with feelings of guilt, concerned she was responsible for the abuse.
"I love Opus Dei but I was caught up in this cover-up — I went to confession, thinking I did something to tempt this holy man to cross boundaries," she said.
The unnamed victim asked Opus Dei to go public with the case to encourage other potential victims to step forward. In response, Opus Dei Vicar Msgr. Thomas Bohlin issued a statement acknowledging the settlement. He revealed that McCloskey was pulled from his CIC position a year after the woman filed her complaint, once an investigation into the allegation was deemed credible.
Monsignor Bohlin apologized in his statement, noting the abuse was "deeply painful for the woman," adding "we are very sorry for all she suffered."
"All harassment and abuse are abhorrent," Bohlin wrote. "I am painfully aware of all that the Church is suffering, and I am very sorry that we in Opus Dei have added to it. Let us ask God to show mercy on all of us in the Church at this difficult time."
Monsignor Bohlin reported that McCloskey left active ministry in 2017, owing to "advanced Alzheimer's."
"He is largely incapacitated and needs assistance for routine daily tasks," Bohlin said. "He has not had any pastoral assignments for a number of years and is no longer able to celebrate Mass, even privately."
McCloskey was a high-profile cleric in the early 2000s, often appearing on EWTN as well as secular networks. He was instrumental in converting a host of high-profile Washington insiders, including Newt Gingrich, Larry Kudlow and Sam Brownback.