Former Cardinal McCarrick and an Opus Dei priest accused of child sexual abuse in a NY lawsuit; SNAP Reacts

A victim who wishes to remain anonymous filed a new lawsuit under New York's Child Victims Act yesterday. The suit accuses former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and another cleric, New York pastor, and Opus Dei priest Fr. Michael Barrett, of child sex abuse during the 1970s,  McCarrick is a known abuser of boys and men and has been defrocked by the Catholic Church for his crimes. The civil window which allowed this action expires on August 14th.

We loudly applaud the brave survivor who stepped forward with his attorney to announce this suit. That is a difficult undertaking for any victim of childhood sexual abuse and we hope the survivor, in this case, understands that his voice, strength, and hope will help others. We empathize with every single person that McCarrick hurt and every single Catholic who feels betrayed by this prominent Catholic official. It is beyond comprehension that Church leaders allowed McCarrick to continue his serial abuse for so long. It took nearly two decades for the Vatican to take action against the former Cardinal and find him guilty of sexual abuse in 2019. A report about McCarrick was released by Rome in November 2020.

We are also pondering the connection between the defrocked Cardinal and the other accused cleric, Fr. Barrett. The priest was a layperson with Opus Dei during the time of the alleged abuse. It is no secret that Pope John Paul II, who has since been canonized a saint, promoted McCarrick despite repeated warnings about his behavior. It is interesting to us that Fr. Barrett was ordained a priest by that same Pope in 1985. The cleric also worked in Rome, Madrid, Houston and Los Angeles.

We urge anyone who may have information regarding abuse by the former Cardinal or Fr. Barrett to report to law enforcement at once. We also hope that Cardinal Timothy Dolan will take appropriate steps to ensure that Fr. Barrett has fully stepped away from ministry while these accusations are investigated. It is long past time for Catholic officials to take the outcry of victims seriously and to do immediate outreach to all of the communities where the accused lived or worked. 

CONTACT: Michael McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009), Brian Toale, SNAP New York ([email protected], 646-549-0372)

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