BOSTON (WRIC) — Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been formally charged with sexually abusing a minor. The 91-year-old is the first cardinal to ever be criminally charged with a sexual crime against a minor in the U.S., according to the Associated Press.
He faces three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 in a case filed in a Massachusetts District Court on Wednesday.
McCarrick ordained other Catholic priests, including Father Mark White of the Diocese of Richmond. 8News first interviewed White when the Richmond diocese ordered him to stop blogging about McCarrick and the church’s handling of sexual abuse investigations.
The Emmy award-winning story detailed White’s use of his blog to criticize the Vatican’s response to sex abuse scandals involving McCarrick. He was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019 once a Vatican investigation confirmed he was a sexual predator. At the time, the church also admitted to making previously undisclosed financial settlements with adults who accused McCarrick of sexual misconduct decades ago.
And yet McCarrick’s files have remained sealed in Rome since he resigned. Father White used his blog to press church leaders to release all the documents, but it was quickly shut down. He told 8News that he was censored by Bishop Barry Knestout and ordered to stop the blog or lose his job.
He did, until a month later. White resumed the blog at the start of the pandemic to help guide his parishioners through the pandemic, church closures and the felony sex abuse charges filed then against a Virginia priest.
White has since reported being locked out of the churches he led—St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount—and his diocese apartment.
White has told 8News’ Kerri O’Brien that his blog is a way of having an open dialogue about the Catholic Church’s complicity in covering up sex abuse, which is part of the reason priests like McCarrick weren’t charged decades ago.