Ex-Cardinal McCarrick had 2nd beach house linked to mysterious debt and unusual history

Theodore McCarrick Crine Uszenski

Title: Ex-Cardinal McCarrick had 2nd beach house linked to mysterious debt and unusual history
Authors: Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin
Date: 08SEP2020
Even as Vatican officials pressured former Newark Archbishop Theodore McCarrick to sell a Sea Girt home in the late 1990s after allegations that he sexually harassed seminarians on overnight trips there, the archdiocese was securing yet another shore home for McCarrick in an even grander location — on a spit of land in Brick Township that juts out into Barnegat Bay.
The second home, never before disclosed to the public, allowed McCarrick to flout the Vatican’s efforts to restrain his lifestyle as he continued his rise through the American church hierarchy. The home came into the archdiocese’s hands after a long and tangled chain of ownership involving a local pastor who owed a large debt to his parish in the Metuchen Diocese, a demand by the diocese to have the pastor’s heir hand the home over to cover the debt, and the ultimate transfer of the home to the Newark Archdiocese.

A lengthy review of decades-old deeds, wills, death certificates and other documents by The Record and, as well as interviews with former top McCarrick aides and others familiar with the second beach house at Curtis Point on a Jersey Shore barrier island, reveals that:

  • Monsignor Francis Crine, a former pastor at St. James Church in Woodbridge, who co-owned the Curtis Point house as well as a boat and a condo in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, owed a mysterious, unexplained debt totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars to the parish.
  • In 1989, when Crine died, the Metuchen Diocese pressured Walter Uszenski, the parish school principal who had co-owned the home and inherited Crine’s share, to transfer the house to the parish for a sale price of $685,000 to cover the debt. No money apparently changed hands.
  • The parish subsequently sold the house to the Metuchen Diocese for $1.
  • A few years later, the Metuchen Diocese sold the home to the Newark Archdiocese.
  • While pastor at St. James, Crine had also served in a top post under McCarrick in the Metuchen Diocese before McCarrick moved on to head the Newark Archdiocese.
  • During Crine’s time as St. James pastor, priests assigned to the parish included some  who were later accused of child sex abuse there and in other parishes, as well as a priest who was later charged with stealing $500,000 from a parish where he became pastor.
  • One former St. James parishioner who accused a priest of abusing him said Crine had to have known that the priest was inviting boys into the rectory for overnight stays to smoke and drink beer.
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