A judge in Massachusetts ruled Wednesday that a disgraced Roman Catholic cardinal is not competent enough to stand trial for sexual abuse allegations. Prosecutors and defense attorneys found that he is suffering from dementia.
Lawyers on both sides of the case deemed Theodore McCarrick, a former archbishop of Washington, D.C., not competent enough to stand trial for allegations that he sexually molested a teenage boy decades ago, CBS News reported.
“It’s not just that he currently has these deficits, there is no way they are going to get better,” Dr. Kerry Nelligan, a psychologist hired by the prosecution, determined, according to CBS News. With the 93-year-old former cardinal unable to participate fully in his defense due to his compromised mental condition, charges against McCarrick were dropped.
McCarrick was charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 in July 2021, after allegations arose that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy at a wedding reception at Wellesley College in 1974. In April 2023, McCarrick was also charged with one count of sexual assault in the fourth degree for the alleged repeated sexual abuse of an 18-year-old in Wisconsin in 1977.
McCarrick maintained his innocence, pleading not guilty to the former charge in September 2021. In February 2023, McCarrick’s lawyers moved to dismiss the charges after a psychiatrist examined him and determined he had dementia and likely Alzheimer’s disease, CBS News reported.
The only current or former U.S. cardinal to ever face sex abuse charges, McCarrick was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019 after an internal Vatican investigation found that he not only molested children during his tenure, but also adults, the outlet stated. In addition to their findings of abuse, the Vatican issued a report revealing that Pope John Paul II had advanced McCarrick within the ranks of the church despite knowledge of the allegations against him, according to NPR. (RELATED: Vatican Defrocks Ex-Cardinal McCarrick After Decades-Old Sexual Abuse Allegations)
“In spite of the criminal court’s decision today, many clergy sexual abuse victims feel as though former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is and will always be the permanent personification of evil within the Catholic Church,” Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer representing the man accusing McCarrick, stated of Wednesday’s ruling, according to CBS News.