From The Washington Post:
D.C.’s embattled Catholic leader, Donald Wuerl, under fire in recent days for untruthful statements regarding what he knew about the alleged sexual misconduct of his predecessor, Theodore McCarrick, apologized late Tuesday, saying he forgot he knew about the allegations and that it was “never the intention to provide false information.”
Wuerl apologized to former priest Robert Ciolek in the evening and then sent a letter to the priests of the archdiocese, where Wuerl is the acting administrator. Pope Francis received Wuerl’s retirement as archbishop earlier than expected last fall as the cardinal was being pummeled by criticism over his handling of abuse cases when he was the Pittsburgh bishop, and also by suspicions that he was not being fully honest about what he knew of the McCarrick scandal.
In the letter, Wuerl said he forgot he was told in 2004 about Ciolek’s complaint against McCarrick, which he said was included in a report sent to the Vatican. The ex-priest, in testimony then to the Pittsburgh Diocese’s Review Board, said McCarrick pressured seminarians to sleep in double beds with him, requested and gave the subordinate unwanted back-rubs and caused Ciolek trauma because he knew that Ciolek had been abused by clergy as a teen.
When Ciolek first went public last week with evidence that Wuerl had been untruthful since the scandal erupted last summer, Wuerl’s office issued a statement saying he had only been trying to protect Ciolek’s confidentiality. Then in a Saturday letter to the archdiocese’s priests, Wuerl repeated his claim that he was protecting confidentiality and said he had denied knowledge only as it pertained to allegations that McCarrick had abused children.
In the Tuesday night letter, Wuerl repeated versions of those defenses but said it didn’t matter.
“Nonetheless, it is important for me to accept personal responsibility and apologize for this lapse of memory. There was never the intention to provide false information,” the letter said.