NJ archbishop ran Jersey Shore child-sex house for priests, lawsuit says
NEW BRUNSWICK — A new lawsuit accuses former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was the founding bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, of running a beach house sex ring in Sea Girt.
The 30-page complaint alleges McCarrick, along with seminarians and several other priests, sexually assaulted young boys over a two-year period at the shore house that had been purchased by McCarrick with diocesan funds.
McCarrick was defrocked by the church last year after allegations of abuse, including one involving an 11-year-old boy. The Vatican said that the Holy See's watchdog office had found McCarrick guilty of "solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power."
McCarrick had previously been accused of having sexual relationships with or molesting adult seminarians. He has never been charged with a crime.
McCarrick later became the archbishop of Newark and also served as archbishop in Washington from 2000 to 2006 and is now living in Kansas.
Attorney Jeff Anderson says the unnamed plaintiff and other youngsters were brought to the beach house for what had been described as a camping trip and “in the night, with the assistance of others, McCarrick would creep into this kid's bed and engage in criminal sexual assault of him, whispering it is OK.”
Anderson said the beach house sex assaults were not the only abuse McCarrick was involved with.
“McCarrick began his predation of sexual abuse, criminal sexual conduct with children in 1969,” he said.
The lawsuit says the plaintiff was an 11-year-old parishioner and altar boy at St. Francis Xavier when he was first molested by Father Anthony Nardino in 1978.
The lawsuit says Essex Catholic principal Brother Andrew Thomas Hewitt molested the teen student when he was 14 to 16 years old and introduced the boy to McCarrick "under the guise that McCarrick would help ... pay his school tuition."
The lawsuit says McCarrick, Father Gerald Ruane, Father Michael Walters and Father John Laferrera molested the boy at McCarrick's Sea Girt home from 1982 to 1983.
Anderson’s partner, attorney Mike Finnegan, commended the courage of their client and said “it’s time today for the top officials, the bishops and the pope to come clean about what all of them knew.”
“They’ve been holding onto their secrets of Cardinal McCarrick for over 50 years," he said.
The lawsuit, filed this week in Superior Court of Middlesex County, names as defendants the Diocese of Metuchen, the Archdiocese of Newark, Shrine of Divine Mercy St. Francis Xavier, Essex Catholic Boys High School, Holy Trinity, Our Lady of the Lake, St. Cassian's, Immaculate Conception as well as McCarrick and the other priests.
A spokeswoman for the Newark Archdiocese said it would be inappropriate to discuss or comment on matters in litigation" but the "Archdiocese of Newark remains fully committed to transparency and to our long-standing programs to protect the faithful and will continue to work with victims, their legal representatives and law enforcement authorities in an ongoing effort to resolve allegations and bring closure to victims."
Anderson said the investigation of the case has uncovered “that there are at least seven minors, children who McCarrick groomed and who were groomed for McCarrick, in which he engaged in criminal sexual conduct. How many more we know not.”
He applauded survivors for coming forward “to reveal the most broad ranging culture of sexual predation by the most powerful cleric in America.”