Suit alleges McCarrick, others abused youth at N.J. beach house

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick

In this March 4, 2015, file photo, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick speaks during a memorial service in South Bend, Ind. (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

A new lawsuit alleges former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and several other clerics sexually abused a teenage boy at a New Jersey beach house in the 1980s.

The suit filed this week in state Superior Court in New Jersey claims the youth, who is not named, was first abused at age 11 when he attended Catholic school in Newark and later was chosen to participate in overnight visits to the beach house in Sea Girt, about 50 miles north of Atlantic City.

McCarrick “assigned sleeping arrangements, choosing his victims from the boys, seminarians and clerics present at the beach house,” the suit alleges.

The suit accuses McCarrick of sexual battery and accuses the Newark archdiocese, the Diocese of Metuchen and other entities under the control of the archdiocese with several counts of negligence.

The suit also mentions five other clerics and says they had criminal sexual contact with the plaintiff, though they are not charged with specific counts. The suit seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

McCarrick “was the one they all answered to and obeyed,” said Jeff Anderson, an attorney for the plaintiff.

Barry Coburn, an attorney representing McCarrick, declined comment Thursday. A spokeswoman for the Newark archdiocese declined comment on the lawsuit.

McCarrick served as Archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese beginning in the late 1980s. He later was appointed Archbishop of Washington, D.C., and became one of the highest-ranking, most visible Catholic Church officials in the United States.

He was defrocked in 2019 at age 89 after a church investigation determined he sexually abused minors, as well as adult seminarians.

In a separate lawsuit filed in New Jersey last year, a man claimed he told Pope John Paul II in 1988 about being sexually abused as a child by McCarrick but that the Vatican did nothing.

The Vatican has said it is conducting an investigation of McCarrick but hasn’t said when a report will be published.

Four of five other individuals named in the lawsuit — Andrew Thomas Hewitt, Gerald Ruane, Michael Walters and John Laferrera — appear on lists of clerics with credible accusations against them released by the Newark archdiocese or other entities. Hewitt and Ruane are deceased. The fifth, Anthony Nardino, has not appeared on lists released by the Newark archdiocese.

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