Title: Theodore McCarrick, the highest ranking priest charged in clergy abuse scandal, arraigned on sexual assault charges
DEDHAM — Defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he sexually assaulted a teenager 47 years ago, making him the highest-ranking Roman Catholic official in the United States to face criminal charges in the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
McCarrick, 91 and living in an assisted living facility, used a walker to move from a bench at the front of the Dedham courtroom to the defendant’s bar. He appeared somber as the charges were read against him.
The man who alleges that McCarrick abused him repeatedly when he was a child sat in the front row with his family, tears filling his eyes as McCarrick faced a judge for the first time. More than a dozen survivors of clergy sexual abuse, who said they had come to witness history, sat in the courtroom.
“With offenses dating June 8 of 1974, in the town of Wellesley, you are charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14,” the court clerk said, reading aloud from court papers.
McCarrick, whose lawyers said in court papers he was “extremely frightened” to appear in court, did not speak. Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf, and he was released on $5,000 bail. Judge Michael J. Pomarole ordered McCarrick to stay away from the victim, not have contact with anyone under the age of 18, and surrender his passport.
The alleged victim left the courthouse without speaking with reporters. His lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said outside the courthouse that he considered the criminal proceeding a historic moment in the fight against clergy sexual abuse.
“Today’s arraignment provides hope for clergy abuse victims and shows that the truth will be told,” he said. “My client is riding an emotional roller coaster today and is ready to participate in the trial to the end. Justice will prevail and children will be kept safe.”