...By Solomon Thomas for TDPel Media.
Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was laicized by Pope Francis in 2019 after a Vatican investigation found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adults, has been charged with fourth-degree sexual assault in Wisconsin.
The incident allegedly occurred in April 1977, and McCarrick has been accused of serially sexually abusing the victim over an unspecified period of time.
McCarrick is currently facing criminal charges in Massachusetts for sexually abusing a minor, which he denies.
Alleged Incident and Reporting
The incident McCarrick is charged with allegedly occurred at a Geneva Lake residence in Wisconsin, in which McCarrick is accused of fondling the victim’s genitals.
Geneva Lake is located in Walworth County, which is about an hour and 20-minute drive south from the city of Madison.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Clergy and Faith Leader Abuse initiative was the recipient of the report, and it aims to provide victims and survivors with an independent and thorough review of the sexual abuse committed by clergy and faith leaders in Wisconsin, no matter when that abuse occurred.
Prosecution and Criminal Complaint
Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld is responsible for prosecuting the case.
At the time of the Department of Justice’s announcement, the criminal complaint was not immediately available.
The charges against McCarrick in Wisconsin further illustrate the systemic and widespread nature of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
McCarrick’s case is also notable for its alleged duration over an unspecified period of time, which highlights the difficulties that victims face in coming forward and seeking justice.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s initiative is an essential step towards addressing the harm done by members of the clergy and faith leaders in Wisconsin, and hopefully, it will provide some measure of justice and healing for survivors.