Former Priest Files New Sexual Abuse Lawsuit against McCarrick

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Theodore Edgar McCarrick
Vatican City: Theodore Edgar McCarrick (born July 7, 1930) is a laicized American former cardinal and bishop of the Catholic Church - IX Congregation of Cardinals before the election of Pope Francis. Photo: Gustavo Kralj/GaudiumpressImages

Defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is facing another sexual abuse lawsuit from a man who claims McCarrick abused him in the 1980s in New Jersey.

Newsroom (24/11/2021, 7:15 PM Gaudium Press) In the lawsuit filed in state court and announced Tuesday, Michael Reading alleged McCarrick engaged in sexual contact with him in 1986 while on a trip to New Jersey shore, around the same time McCarrick ordained Reading as a priest.

The claim comes as a two-year window nears completion in New Jersey for people to file abuse lawsuits regardless of how far back the alleged abuse occurred. The suit names McCarrick and the Newark archdiocese and also alleges Reading was abused in 1978 by Father Edward Eilert, a priest working in the Newark archdiocese.

Eilert is on the Newark archdiocese’s February 2019 list of credibly accused clergy for “multiple” allegations. He is listed as permanently removed from ministry. The website of Anderson’s law firm lists him at a retirement home for priests as early as 2005. In 2002 Eilert was among three priests accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in the 1980s. Though the Union County Prosecutor’s Office said the accusations were credible, charges were not allowed under the statute of limitations, NJ.com reported in 2013.

“I’m only doing the lawsuit mainly because three years ago when I did that, I also wrote a letter to Cardinal (Joseph) Tobin and the Archdiocese of Newark and I never heard anything back,” plaintiff Michael Reading said in a video message posted to his attorneys’ website. “The whole thing is disappointing, but I’m just very disappointed that I never heard anything and got no response from the Church,” he stated.

When he sees media coverage of McCarrick’s court appearances, he said, “it all comes back again.”

An attorney representing McCarrick declined to comment Tuesday. A spokesperson for the archdiocese didn’t comment on the lawsuit but said the archdiocese is “fully committed to our comprehensive programs and protocols to protect the faithful and to working with survivors of abuse, their legal representatives and law enforcement authorities in an ongoing effort to resolve allegations of past abuse.”

Backgrounder

McCarrick faces several abuse lawsuits in New Jersey that cover when he was Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen in central New Jersey and the archbishop of the Newark archdiocese. Like Reading’s, some of the accusations involve activities at a New Jersey shore house used by McCarrick and other clerics.

After serving in Newark, McCarrick was archbishop of Washington, D.C., and became one of the highest-ranking, most visible Roman Catholic officials in the United States. He was defrocked in 2019 after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused minors, as well as adults.

In a separate case in Massachusetts, the now-91-year-old McCarrick recently became the only U.S. Catholic cardinal ever to be charged with child sex crimes, and he pleaded not guilty in a court appearance in early September.

 

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