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Ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick sex abuse case dismissed by judge: What the ruling means


On the grounds of incompetency, a criminal child sexual abuse case against ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick was dismissed by a Massachusetts judge. McCarrick, a former archbishop of Washington, could not stand trial according to the ruling. 

McCarrick, now 93, was accused of abusing a 16-year-old boy at a wedding in 1974. This was his first criminal court appearance since numerous allegations of sexual misconduct arose in 2018. McCarrick is also facing a second criminal sexual abuse case in Wisconsin, involving the same alleged victim. 

Attempts to contact McCarrick's attorney on Wednesday have been unsuccessful. 

McCarrick's downfall has sent shockwaves throughout the U.S. church. It has led to feelings of anger and distrust among the laity and has prompted the Vatican to slightly relax its rules, making it easier to hold bishops accountable. Investigations have revealed that top leaders, from the U.S to Rome, were aware of McCarrick's misconduct with adults. Several harassment lawsuits against McCarrick had even been quietly settled. 

Judge Paul McCallum of the Norfolk District Court in Dedham, Mass., dismissed the case after defense and prosecution experts agreed that McCarrick could not assist in his own defense, according to David Traub, a spokesperson for the district attorney. In accordance with Massachusetts law, the case could not proceed. 

McCarrick's accuser, James Grein, expressed his disappointment at the outcome. In a statement, he said he had hoped to find justice in the court but was left with nothing as McCarrick walked free. 

Mathew Schmalz, a professor of religious studies, remarked that the decision would undoubtedly hurt victims. Schmalz also questioned why warnings about McCarrick were ignored for so long and insisted that investigations into McCarrick should not end with this dismissal. 

The next hearing for the Wisconsin case involving McCarrick has been set for Sept. 18.


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