Cred­i­bil­ity cri­sis for the Catholic hi­er­ar­chy con­tin­ues

McCar­rick ac­cuser co-op­er­ates with NYC pros­e­cu­tors on abuse

The Expositor (Brantford) - - CLASSIFIEDS - NICOLE WIN­FIELD

VAT­I­CAN CITY — The key ac­cuser in the sex abuse case against ex-Car­di­nal Theodore McCar­rick has met with New York City pros­e­cu­tors, ev­i­dence that the scan­dal that has con­vulsed the pa­pacy is now part of the broader U.S. law en­force­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion into sex abuse and coverup in the Catholic Church.

James Grein gave tes­ti­mony last month to Man­hat­tan As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Sara Sul­li­van, who is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a broad range of is­sues re­lated to clergy abuse and the sys­tem­atic coverup by church su­pe­ri­ors, Grein’s at­tor­ney, Patrick Noaker, told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The de­vel­op­ment is sig­nif­i­cant, given that the Vat­i­can in­ves­ti­ga­tion against McCar­rick has al­ready cre­ated a cred­i­bil­ity cri­sis for the Catholic hi­er­ar­chy in­clud­ing Pope Fran­cis, since it was ap­par­ently an open se­cret that McCar­rick slept with adult sem­i­nar­i­ans. Grein’s tes­ti­mony, how­ever, in­cludes al­le­ga­tions that McCar­rick, a for­mer fam­ily friend, also groomed and abused him start­ing when he was 11.

The Man­hat­tan Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s of­fice launched a hot­line last year and in­vited vic­tims to re­port even decades-old sex abuse, say­ing it would pur­sue “any and all in­ves­tiga­tive leads” to en­sure jus­tice.

Grein met with Sul­li­van be­fore Christ­mas after fil­ing a com­pen­sa­tion claim with the New York City arch­dio­cese al­leg­ing that McCar­rick, the re­tired arch­bishop of Wash­ing­ton, first ex­posed him­self when Grein was 11 and con­tin­ued abus­ing him for some two decades, in­clud­ing dur­ing con­fes­sion, Noaker said. The church’s com­pen­sa­tion pro­ce­dures re­quire that vic­tims no­tify the dis­trict at­tor­ney of their al­le­ga­tions, which Grein did on Nov. 1.

Noaker, how­ever, said Grein’s tes­ti­mony to Sul­li­van went be­yond the re­quired pro forma no­ti­fi­ca­tion and cov­ered is­sues re­lated to a broader in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

On Dec. 27, Grein tes­ti­fied to Vat­i­can in­ves­ti­ga­tors as part of the Holy See’s in­ter­nal probe against McCar­rick. That in­ves­ti­ga­tion has now fin­ished and shifted to Rome, where a fi­nal ver­dict is ex­pected within weeks, Vat­i­can of­fi­cials say.

McCar­rick, who has also been ac­cused by two other men in the Vat­i­can in­ves­ti­ga­tion, faces pos­si­ble de­frock­ing if Fran­cis de­ter­mines the ac­cu­sa­tions against him are cred­i­ble.

Crim­i­nal charges in New York City against McCar­rick are un­likely for any ac­tual abuse, due to the statute of lim­i­ta­tions, Noaker said. But Grein’s tes­ti­mony could still prove use­ful as pros­e­cu­tors in­ves­ti­gate pat­terns of abuse, con­spir­acy and coverup over decades by Catholic lead­ers.

A law en­force­ment of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the New York City in­ves­ti­ga­tion said it was sep­a­rate from the one an­nounced in Septem­ber by then-New York State At­tor­ney Gen­eral Bar­bara Un­der­wood, who sub­poe­naed all eight dio­ce­ses in New York state. The of­fi­cial spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly about an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Un­der­wood, who has since been re­placed, took ac­tion along with pros­e­cu­tors in a dozen U.S. states after a Penn­syl­va­nia grand jury al­leged that more than 1,000 chil­dren were mo­lested by 300 priests over 70 years in six dio­ce­ses of that state alone.

The state at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice is pur­su­ing a civil in­ves­ti­ga­tion but has also reached out to lo­cal pros­e­cu­tors au­tho­rized to con­vene grand ju­ries or pur­sue crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Sep­a­rately, the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment has told ev­ery Catholic dio­cese in the coun­try not to de­stroy doc­u­ments or con­fi­den­tial ar­chives re­lat­ing to abuse in­ves­ti­ga­tions and the trans­fers of priests.

KATHER­INE FREY/AP FILES

In this Nov. 13, 2018 photo, James Grein tells the au­di­ence gath­ered at the Si­lence Stops Now rally, at MECU Pavil­ion in Bal­ti­more, that he was sex­u­ally abused for years by ex-Car­di­nal Theodore McCar­rick. In De­cem­ber 2018, Grein gave tes­ti­mony in New York to Man­hat­tan As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Sara Sul­li­van, who is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a broad range of is­sues re­lated to clergy abuse and the sys­tem­atic cover-up by church su­pe­ri­ors, Grein’s at­tor­ney, Patrick Noaker, told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

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