Former Cardinal McCarrick pleads not guilty; two more lawsuits filed

Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick arrives at Dedham District Court in Dedham, Mass., Sept. 3, 2021, after being charged with molesting a 16-year-old boy during a 1974 wedding reception. (CNS photo/Brian Snyder, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) –– Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick pleaded not guilty Sept. 3 in a Massachusetts court, where he is facing three counts of sexually assaulting a teenager in the 1970s.

Local news reporters posted a video on Twitter of the 91-year-old McCarrick, wearing a face mask and slowly heading toward Dedham District Court with the aid of a walker as protesters shouted, "Go to hell, McCarrick," and "How many lives, how many children?”

He was not taken under custody but was ordered to post $5,000 bail and have no contact with the alleged victim or children. The former high-ranking, globe-trotting church official also was ordered not to leave the country and surrendered his passport.

The day before the arraignment, a former employee and a former priest of the Archdiocese of Newark filed lawsuits alleging unpermitted sexual contact by McCarrick for alleged incidents in 1991.

However, the Massachusetts case is the first time McCarrick has faced charges for assault of a minor, which is alleged first to have taken place at a wedding reception and continued over the years in different states.

Others have publicly accused McCarrick of abusing them as children, but charges weren't filed as the statute of limitations had run out in some states where the abuse was said to have taken place.