Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl knew of sexual misconduct allegations against ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and reported them to the Vatican in 2004, church officials confirmed Thursday evening, despite portraying himself since last summer as unaware of any complaints surrounding McCarrick.
Robert Ciolek, a former priest who reached a settlement with the church in 2005 after accusing clerics including McCarrick, told The Post he recently learned that the Pittsburgh Diocese has a file that shows that Wuerl was aware of his allegations against McCarrick. The file includes documentation that Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburgh at the time, shared the information with then-Vatican ambassador Gabriel Montalvo.
The content of the document, which Ciolek told The Post he saw in December, clashes sharply with Wuerl’s public statements about McCarrick since the older cleric was suspended in June due to a complaint that he groped an altar boy decades ago.The explosive allegations against McCarrick, which include two other accusations of abusing minors as well as those of harassment of seminarians, tipped off a full-blown crisis in the American Catholic Church. All along, Wuerl has largely rejected charges that he played a role in it.
McCarrick’s case is reportedly now about to be decided in one of the highest-profile clergy sex abuse trial processes to come before Rome.
Both the Washington Archdiocese and the Pittsburgh diocese Thursday night acknowledged Wuerl knew and told the Vatican, and said they were simply trying to protect Ciolek’s confidentiality.
Ciolek dismissed that Thursday. “There was nothing that precluded them from talking to anyone” about his case. Wuerl at worst could have said: ‘I am aware but I can’t name that person.’ ”
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