New Lawsuit Exposes Disgraced Cardinal’s “Sex Ring” and names Five Additional Priests Involved
A newly filed lawsuit from New Jersey alleges that disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick ran a “sex ring” from his beach house on the Jersey Shore and names five additional priests who were involved in this criminal conspiracy. We applaud this brave survivor for coming forward and sharing this information with parishioners and the public. We are confident that abuse will be prevented thanks to these disclosures.
The allegations in this lawsuit are disturbing both in their detail and scope. John Doe 14 was preyed upon by men who groomed him, targeted his financial difficulties in order to expose vulnerabilities, and then used those vulnerabilities to sexually abuse him and to allow other men to sexually abuse him. The men named in the lawsuit are:
- Anthony Nardino – Deceased
- Brother Andrew Thomas Hewitt, Principal at Essex Catholic High School – Deceased
- Gerald Ruane – Deceased
- Michael Walters – Alive and removed from ministry
- John Laferrera – Alive and removed from ministry
The grooming of John Doe 14 began with Fr. Nardino who then passed him on to Brother Hewitt, the principal of Essex Catholic High School. Brother Hewitt used Doe 14’s financial difficulties with tuition to “introduce him to the boss;” the boss ended up being former Cardinal McCarrick. What followed from that introduction was years of sexual abuse at the hands of the Cardinal and these other men at a beach house that was purchased using Archdiocesan funds.
This lawsuit reveals that at least seven children were abused by disgraced Cardinal McCarrick, a number that is certain to grow over time as more survivors come forward.
Stories about Cardinal McCarrick’s abuse of seminarians have been known to the public for several years – and even longer in internal Catholic circles – but this case connects the Cardinal to the sexual abuse of children as well. We are not surprised by this disclosure, only disheartened and disturbed that someone like Cardinal McCarrick was able to climb so high in the Catholic Church, granting him wider access to vulnerable populations and the chance to abuse more young men and children.
We are sure that more and more disclosures are to come, not only about Cardinal McCarrick’s crimes, but critically about the other men who knew, were involved or helped cover-up his wrongdoing. This is one reason why we believe that the Vatican is moving at a glacial pace to issue its report into the extent of the Cardinal’s abuse. It is clear that answers to what went wrong with Cardinal McCarrick are more likely to come from secular authorities, not Catholic officials.
We know that New Jersey A.G. Gurbir Grewal is investigating cases of clergy abuse. We hope that this news will prompt him to look more closely at Essex Catholic High School and unearth what other children may have been preyed upon by Brother Hewitt, Cardinal McCarrick, or others.
According to this lawsuit, the former Cardinal had been abusing children since 1969. We hope that this news will inspire others who were hurt by him to come forward, make a report to police and prosecutors, and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)