Cardinal Theodore McCarrick removed from ministry after allegations of sex abuse found credible

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been removed from public ministry after a Vatican investigation found allegations of sexual abuse against the former Archbishop of the nation’s capital credible and substantiated.

“The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the direction of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is to refrain from any public ministry or activity until a definite decision is made,” a statement from the Vatican said.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, spearheaded the Vatican’s investigation of allegations that McCarrick sexually abused a teenager while serving as a priest in New York close to 50 years ago.

“This was the first such report of a violation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People ever made against him of which the archdiocese was aware,” Cardinal Dolan said.

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McCarrick has maintained his innocence despite his decision to step down.

"While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people," the Cardinal said in a statement.

McCarrick, 87, served as Archbishop of Washington, D.C. from 2001 to 2006. He is the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church to be removed from the ministry amid allegations of sexual misconduct.