New Sex Abuse Allegation Against McCarrick

News: US News
by Stephen Wynne  •  •  December 2, 2019   

One among dozens of new lawsuits filed in NJ

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NEWARK, N.J. ( - Yet another victim has come forward to accuse disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick of sexual assault.

On Sunday, John Bellocchio of Hackensack filed suit against McCarrick and the archdiocese of Newark, alleging that he was abused as a teenager in the mid-1990s.

According to Bellocchio's complaint, McCarrick, then archbishop of Newark, "inflicted unpermitted harmful and offensive bodily sexual contact" on him "on the premises of a parish."

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, attorney Jeff Anderson, who specializes in clerical sex abuse cases, explained that "John Bellocchio has made the choice — and a very courageous one — to do something that had not been done before: that is, take on the top cleric in America and name the Vatican as complicit in concealment of and the protection of a known predator, McCarrick."

John Bellocchio with attorney Jeff Anderson

Describing the former cardinal as "a predator at the top of the Catholic Church in America," Anderson slammed the "participation and complicity" of top Catholic officials, and named Popes Benedict XVI and Francis as complicit in McCarrick's concealment and protection.

"McCarrick has been protected for decades and given safe harbor in his predatory ways for decades. That protection ... runs all the way to Rome," he said.

In the complaint, Anderson and his team outline a host of evidence supporting Bellocchio's contention:

  • In the late 1980s, when Reverend Boniface Ramsey, O.P., was teaching at Immaculate Conception Seminary, McCarrick was Archbishop of Newark and Immaculate Conception was his seminary. At this time, Rev. Ramsey reported his concerns about McCarrick's inappropriate conduct with seminarians to the rector of the seminary.
  • In 1993, Fr. Ramsey expressed concerns to his friend the Archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky Thomas Kelly, O.P. regarding McCarrick's conduct with seminarians. Archbishop Kelly responded, "We all know."
  • In 1993, the Diocese of Metuchen was informed about McCarrick's sexual exploitation of a young seminarian.
  • In approximately 1995 or 1996, when Plaintiff was approximately 13 or 14 years old, McCarrick engaged in unpermitted sexual contact with Plaintiff.
  • McCarrick engaged in a similar course of conduct and pattern of sexual predation of devout Catholic youth under his control.
  • In 2000, Fr. Ramsey sent a letter to Nuncio Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo expressing his concerns about McCarrick and his inappropriate behavior with seminarians.
  • Upon information and belief, in the early to mid-2000s, two former priests, Robert Ciolek and an unnamed man, were paid settlements for harassment and sexual abuse they suffered by McCarrick in the 1980s when they were seminarians.
  • In 2018, Carlo Maria Viganò, Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana and former Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, released a letter indicating that the Holy See had been informed in at least 2000 of McCarrick's "gravely immoral behavior with seminarians and priests."
  • In 2018, Fr. Ramsey released an October 2006 letter that he had received from a top official of the Vatican Secretariat of State. In the letter, then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri acknowledged receipt of the allegations regarding McCarrick in 2000.

On Monday, Bellocchio said he was filing suit to "be able to move forward, and to help the Catholic Church move forward, because it is time that they own, claim and acknowledge their sins and clean the house from the top down."

It is time for the bishops, the archbishops, the cardinals, and even the Holy Father to stop hiding behind their titles and their robes and acknowledge the truth that lies in front of them ... .

"I want there to be real, effective change from the top down," he continued. "It is time for the bishops, the archbishops, the cardinals, and even the Holy Father to stop hiding behind their titles and their robes and acknowledge the truth that lies in front of them ... ."

Bellocchio called for the hierarchy "to fix it, because they are entrusted not only by their flock, but by God to do so." They have "a moral imperitive and a moral repsonsibility to do it, and to do it now," he said.

Bellocchio was one of dozens of New Jersey plaintiffs who filed suit against the Church on Sunday. Under the state's new Victim's Rights Bill, as of Dec. 1 sex abuse survivors may, for the next two years, file suit against their alleged attackers without restriction.

The law is expected to yield hundreds of new claims against New Jersey's five dioceses.

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