Today, the Holy See released the investigation report concerning Theodore McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., who was returned to the lay state in 2019 after a report came forward of sexual misconduct with a minor dating back to the early 1970s along with confirmed reports of sexual harassment of adults dating back to 1999.
The extensive report, released by the Vatican early this morning, addresses the allegations of sexual misconduct by Theodore McCarrick and the Holy See’s knowledge and decision-making regarding his career as a priest, Bishop and Cardinal. As Archbishop José H. Gomez mentions in his statement below, the report is a welcomed additional step forward toward transparency and accountability.
We must never lose focus on the tremendous betrayal of trust and significant trauma inflicted on victim-survivors, their families and loved ones, and the Church at large. That is why all in our Church, and society as whole, must continue to stand resolute in our support of victim-survivors of abuse and steadfast in our vigilance to stop and prevent sexual abuse.
For more than two decades, our Archdiocese has instituted strict reporting and prevention protocols to ensure that any report of abuse or misconduct involving any person working or volunteering in the Archdiocese, regardless if they are clergy or lay person, is reported to the appropriate civil authorities; the individual accused is removed from any ministry pending the result of a police and/or independent investigation; and if the person is found to have sexually abused a minor or vulnerable adult, that person is permanently removed from ministry. Additionally, the United States Conference of Bishops last year instituted new norms and protocols to ensure that abuse claims involving Bishops are handled appropriately and, importantly, to hold accountable bishops and other clergy who mishandle claims of abuse.
We can never apologize enough for the suffering and harm inflicted, and for failing to fully recognize the courage of victim-survivors. It is your courage and determination that brought this evil within our Church to the surface and those causing so much harm out of the shadows so they can be held accountable. Our Church is grateful to all victim-survivors who have courageously come forward to report abuse. Please know that you are being heard. Because of you, the Church has been able to address this evil and put in place measures to ensure that these crimes are investigated and prosecuted, and that the perpetrators are prevented from using their position within the Church to harm others.
Our prayers are with all those who have been harmed directly and all those who are feeling harmed yet again by the betrayals embodied in this matter. While I cannot speak directly to the specifics of the report, I am reaching out to all those harmed in the Archdiocese to offer the support of the Office of Victims Assistance Ministry. I encourage you to report any abuse to the appropriate civil authorities and to our office at 213-637-7650 or 800-355-3545.
We join Archbishop Gomez in continuing to praying for all victim-survivors and their loved ones and for our Church leaders that they continue to strengthen the resolve of our dioceses to do all we can to support victim-survivors and ensure accountability, transparency and prevention of abuse.