(NewsSpace.com) – Over the past few decades, there have been a slew of allegations against the Catholic Church and its priests, cardinals, and other religious leaders. Many of them involve claims of sexual assault, a matter that has largely been reportedly swept under the rug for decades. Now, the victims are starting to see their cases go before the courts, but they may not get the justice they deserve.
Theodore McCarrick, now 93, was once one of the highest-ranking clerics in the country, having served as the archbishop of Washington, DC. He was defrocked in 2011 following a Vatican investigation that found he had sexually molested children and adults. Then, last year, McCarrick was charged in Wisconsin with a single count of fourth-degree sexual assault for allegedly assaulting an 18-year-old back in 1977. The victim, an unnamed man, said he was swimming when the archbishop and another man assaulted him in the water, fondling him without consent.
However, on Wednesday, January 10, a judge suspended the case after receiving an assessment that McCarrick was incompetent to stand trial. He reportedly suffers from dementia, according to his attorneys. County Judge David M. Reddy said he didn’t have the power to stop the trial from proceeding and that any dismissal of the charges would need to come from the prosecutor, District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld.
In many states, cases can’t go to trial these days if they are related to decades-old crimes because the statute of limitations runs out. But in Wisconsin, the time pauses when the person leaves the state if they don’t live there. Another court date has been set for December, but it’s unclear if it will happen.
McCarrick had faced another accusation in Massachusetts on similar charges, but that case was thrown out, too, in August for the same reason. The decisions have come as a blow to the victims, who will now never see the archbishop face any real trial to determine his guilt and dole out appropriate justice should he be found guilty.
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