Seton Hall University began investigating allegations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and other priests sexually abused young men at two of its seminaries.
University President Dr. Mary Meehan published a letter to the university’s website Wednesday, announcing that the school’s leadership authorized an independent review of allegations that McCarrick, while archbishop of Newark, and other diocesan priests abused seminarians at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and the College Seminary at Saint Andrew’s Hall. Cardinal Joseph Tobin, current Archbishop of Newark, also approved of the probe, according to The Associated Press. (RELATED: Cardinal Faces Sexual Abuse Allegations From First Person He Baptized)
“Among the many disgraceful incidents that have shaken our collective consciousness, we at the University are particularly concerned with recent accusations against Theodore McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Newark, and other priests of the Archdiocese. Some of these alleged incidents may have involved seminarians at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and the College Seminary at Saint Andrew’s Hall,” Meehan’s letter reads.
“These are difficult days for all victims of abuse, and for our Church. Let us pray for the wisdom and courage to do what our faith demands, along with the grace and love we need to protect all God’s children,” the letter later adds.
The investigation comes amid multitudinous calls for the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor as archbishop of Washington, who critics allege knew of the sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick and did nothing. Wuerl has unsuccessfully tried to stave off criticism of his actions as former archbishop of Pittsburgh, in light of Pennsylvania’s grand jury report detailing rampant sexual abuse and cover-ups, and of his alleged connection to the controversy surrounding McCarrick. Wuerl claimed to have no knowledge of McCarrick’s alleged abuses.
An online petition to have Wuerl removed from ministry had more than 60,000 signatures as of Thursday.
The Vatican removed McCarrick from ministry in June upon deeming allegations that he had sexually abused a teenager. McCarrick denied these allegations at the time of his removal from ministry. He is also accused of having sexually abused three adult seminarians, two of whom he gave financial settlements.
Another alleged victim, the first child McCarrick ever baptized, claimed in July that McCarrick had been a friend of his family, groomed him from a young age, and abused him over a span of 20 years. McCarrick has not responded to those allegations.
Meehan stated in her letter that the law firm Gibbons PC would conduct the review of the allegations involving seminarians, but as of Thursday the university stated that a different law firm would conduct the investigation as Gibbons PC attorney Theodore Wells had a conflict.
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