Former US cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenage boy, court documents showed Thursday, making him the most senior Roman Catholic official in America to face criminal charges in the massive clergy abuse scandal.
The 91-year-old, a former archbishop of Washington DC, was slapped with three counts of indecent assault and battery against a child over 14, according to a filing in a Massachusetts district court.
McCarrick was thrown out of the Catholic Church in 2019, becoming the highest-ranking Church figure to be expelled in modern times.
He had been found guilty by the Vatican of sexually abusing at least one teenage boy in the 1970s and of sexual misconduct with adult male seminarians.
McCarrick, who played a key role in raising funds for the Holy See from wealthy US donors, was stripped of his cardinal's title in 2018 before he lost his priest's status the following year.
A 450-page Vatican report published in 2020 concluded that McCarrick was able to rise through the ranks of the Church despite years of sexual misconduct allegations.
The Vatican admitted last November that late pope John Paul II ignored advice against promoting McCarrick over the sexual assault rumors that were later substantiated.
Prosecutors allege that McCarrick groped the victim when he was 16 in 1974 as they walked around the campus of Wellesley College in Massachusetts during his brother's wedding reception.
The victim says that McCarrick led him into a room and groped his genitals while "saying prayers," according to the criminal complaint.
The ex-cardinal has been the subject of several civil lawsuits brought by accusers but this is the first criminal case against him.
The man's lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said his client was "showing an enormous amount of courage" by bringing the complaint.
"This is the first cardinal in the United States ever charged criminally for a sexual offense against a minor," he said in a statement to AFP.
McCarrick's attorney, Barry Coburn, told AFP he and his client "look forward to addressing the case in the courtroom."
The Catholic Church has been shaken by a string of child sex abuse scandals in recent years.
A grand jury investigation into Pennsylvania dioceses in 2018 exposed the systematic cover-up by the Church of sexual abuse by "over 300 predator priests".
More than 1,000 child victims were cited.
Between 1950 and 2016 the US Catholic Church received 18,500 complaints against 6,700 members of the clergy, according to the site bishop-accountability.org.
Several senior church members in the US have been forced to resign for protecting sex offender priests, including the late cardinal Bernard Law.
'They are a cancer': Lauren Boebert calls for Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger to be banned from GOP cloakroom -- and the House conference
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) joined a other members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus in demanding the expulsion of Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger from the Republican conference.
The pair each voted to impeach Donald Trump for a second time, and they are the only two Republicans serving on the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection, which Boebert has been accused of aiding by leading Capitol tours ahead of the riot and tweeting the location of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the siege.
"These members should not be allowed in our closed door private meetings or even the Republican cloakroom," Boebert said. "We had important meetings yesterday in the cloakroom. I saw Kinzinger in there. Why is he able to be part of those conversations while he goes back and confers with the opposition. Both of these politicians, Kinzinger and Cheney, have worked more with Pelosi than they have with myself, my colleagues or even [minority] leader McCarthy."
She spent a substantial portion of her remarks complaining about Kinzinger's criticism of her online and on television, and demanded him and Cheney banned from the cloakroom and expelled from the conference entirely.
"They are a cancer to our party and to our caucus and they most be expelled from our conference," Boebert said.
'We're in a war!' The bizarre beliefs of QAnon followers are detailed in this new video — which features Michael Flynn
A new video from YouTuber Andrew Callaghan provides some entertaining insight into the bizarre beliefs of QAnon followers.
Callaghan visited the "God and Country Patriot Roundup," a recent QAnon convention in Dallas, where he spoke to attendees including former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former GOP Congressman Allen West, and former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos.
But Callaghan's 20-minute video, published Wednesday on his "Channel 5," is devoted mostly to interviews with lay followers of the conspiracy theory.
One woman told Callaghan the belief that prominent Democrats including President Joe Biden are "Satan worshippers, 100 percent" has led to her being ostracized by her family — which causes her to cry all the time — but she is undeterred.
"Once you learn, you don't turn back," she said. "I know what God wants for us and what Jesus wants, and it's what Trump wants, and it's what the patriots want. I would never turn back, no matter how much of my family I lose."
Other attendees complained about how they've been banned from social media platforms due to their conspiratorial posts.
"People don't understand, everything that we've learned, from day one, has been a lie. We were never on the moon. I don't think the Hitler situation was as bad as it was, either," one man told Callaghan. "We're in a war. It's no different than what they were doing to the Jews and different things. They silenced them. They're just doing it through social media and electronically now."
Evan Sayet, a Jewish author and QAnon follower, agreed: "The only difference between woke supremacists and the Nazi supremacists and the white supremacists of the old South is the technology available to them. They don't need to put the Jews, the other, into ghettos, because they can now electronically ghettoize us. This Jew is electronically ghettoized. I am endlessly being imprisoned in Zuckerberg's gulags."
Callaghan also consulted with a QAnon critic and expert, Brace Belden, who tried to explain the basic tenets of the group — including that Donald Trump is either "Q" or somehow behind "Q."
"He's a Christ-like figure who's come to the office of the presidency in order to arrest and execute every single person they don't like," Belden explained.
He added that QAnon followers were disappointed because they had been expecting a "storm" — when Trump would carry out the arrests and executions — but it never came. Meanwhile, the "Q" account stopped posting on the forum 8Chan in December.
"Q is true forever whether there are posts or not, as long as anons never cease to find and spread the truth," one woman told Callaghan, adding that she believes the Capitol insurrection was "an inside job."
"It was an infiltration," another man said. "I was there. I know what it was. Antifa, Black Lives matter, George Soros-funded, same thing. It's all an infiltration. We've learned it. We've seen the court documents since it happened."
Another man said he hopes the storm is still coming thanks to election audits in places like Arizona, while still others said Q and/or Trump have done their jobs by starting a great awakening and now it's time for followers to "take back" the country.
As for Flynn, he denied any knowledge of QAnon when confronted by Callaghan, even though he has appeared on video with his family taking the group's oath, "Where we go one, we go all."
Flynn told Callaghan QAnon is a "boogeyman" and a "new shiny object" created by the media.
"I don't know what QAnon is. I really don't, but I'm going to leave here saying, 'Well, do you believe in God?'" Flynn told Callaghan, prompting the host to point out he was being "very sneaky."
Other QAnon followers suggested that Flynn was just trying to avoid being ostracized. "He was the military man who knew about the Hillary Clinton scandals. His truth is what brought the movement alive," one person said.
Papadopoulos and West also denied any knowledge of QAnon in interviews with Callaghan.
"I don't know about it, and I only talk about things I know," Papadopoulos said, before oddly bringing up arena football.
"I don't know, I'm just here to talk," West said, before invoking Booker T. Washington.
Callaghan also interviewed Will Sommer, a reporter from the Daily Beast who covered the conference.
"I typically feel very bad for the average QAnon believer," Sommer said. "It preys on your emotions. Almost everyone I know, they have a story about someone they know who has lost their mind to QAnon."
The video concludes with ominous music and footage of conference attendees using vaping devices outside the venue. "I love Trump, but I hated when he banned flavored vape juice," one QAnon follower said.
Finally, there is footage of Flynn on stage at the conference telling attendees that a coup like the recent one in Myanmar "should happen here."
Watch it below.
Q Conference www.youtube.com
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