Four accusers of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick have filed a lawsuit against the Vatican, arguing it should be held liable for allowing the now-disgraced cleric to serve in multiple positions in New York and New Jersey when it knew of numerous allegations of sexual abuse against him.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, where McCarrick served as archbishop from the mid-1980s until 2000. Prior to that, he served as bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, also in New Jersey, and as a priest in the archdiocese of New York.
He was appointed archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2000 by Pope John Paul II and became one of the highest-ranking, most visible Roman Catholic officials in the United States and a skilled fundraiser. McCarrick was defrocked in 2019 after an investigation substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against him.
Three of the plaintiffs were parishioners who allege McCarrick abused them as youths in the 1980s. The