An in-depth Vatican report about Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual misconduct with children and young adults indicates that when pope John Paul II appointed him to Washington in 2000 and created him cardinal in early 2001, he was aware of the following child sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick:
- A priest complaint that McCarrick tried to engage in sexual activity with him in the summer of 1987 when McCarrick was Archbishop of Newark . The same priest who at that time was part of the Diocese of Metuchen also alleged that he saw McCarrick engaging in sexual activity with another priest in June 1987
- Anonymous letters accusing McCarrick of pedophilia with his nephews were sent to multiple cardinals in the US and to the the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Apostolic Nuncio
- McCarrick shared a bed with young adult men in the Bishop’s residences of Metuchen and Newark
- McCarrick shared a bed with adult seminarians at a beach house in New Jersey
After John Paul II was informed of the allegations he asked Archbishop Montalvo, the Nuncio to the United States to investigate the allegations. After finding out that the first priest had himself previously abused two teenage boys he considered his allegations unreliable. In regards to the allegations that McCarrick shared his bed with young adults, it appeared that 3 of the 4 bishops questioned on the allegations provided inaccurate and incomplete answers that made it impossible to determine if McCarrick abused young adults at his residence. Additionally because no victim complained directly John Paul II treated the allegations as degrading gossips or rumors against the catholic church.
McCarrick and John Paul knew each other since 1970 and were frequently interacting in Rome or during the Pope’s trips overseas. McCarrick who was also known as a very effective fundraiser for the church always strongly denied the allegations and “his buddy” John Paul II turned a blind eye on them and promoted him to Cardinal.
In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI who succeeded John Paul II, despite also being aware of the sexual abuse allegations, extended McCarrick’s tenure in Washington for two more years. However, a lot of concerns were discussed internally during these two years but ultimately the Pope did nothing despites additional allegations and lawsuits and McCarrick continued his activities in the US and overseas.
Pope Francis continued to adopt the same “let go” attitude from his predecessors until 2017 when a New York child victim accused McCarrick of sexual abuse. Pope Francis then asked McCarrick to resign from the College of Cardinals.