Theodore McCarrick began his ministry as Archbishop of Washington DC in January of 2001.
After a ceremony at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, there was a reception in a banquet hall at the Capitol Hilton, a few block away. The victim in the upcoming Massachusetts criminal case against McCarrick was at that reception. So was I.
We did not meet then. I have since had the privilege of getting to know the victim, and he has shared some of his experiences with me. His identity will become public on September 3.
I learned from my friend that there were, in fact, at least three of McCarrick’s victims at that Capitol-Hilton reception in early ’01. All three were members of devout Catholic families, families that McCarrick had befriended in his early years as a priest.
The three had shared their experiences with each other before then. That day, they spoke privately among themselves outside the reception, taking counsel with each other about the situation. The man who had sexually abused them, when they were teenage boys a quarter-century earlier, had just become the Archbishop of the capital city of the United States. The criminal would soon become a Cardinal, a potential pope. They had to do something.
The men agreed that one of them would try to speak to a prominent journalist. The deputized victim called the ABC News reporter Connie Chung. He told her their story. Chung did not believe it.
A year later, after the Boston sex-abuse scandal, McCarrick told a group of reporters that he had been “falsely accused” during the 1990’s. In Rome, Chung interviewed McCarrick. She asked, “Would you address the question of sexual conduct on your part?” McCarrick answered, “I have never had sexual relations with anybody.” Chung: “End of story?” McCarrick: “End of story.”
It might have been the end of the story. But the victims of McCarrick’s crimes did not give up