Former Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who is 92 years old, has filed a motion in a Massachusetts court stating that he is “legally incompetent” to stand trial for the sexual abuse charges against him. McCarrick has claimed that his “irreversible dementia” is worsening and has rendered him unable to stand trial.
McCarrick is facing three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14, relating to allegations that he sexually abused a teenage family friend at a wedding ceremony in the 1970s at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. The former cardinal has been accused of using his position of power to sexually abuse minors and seminarians.
The state of Massachusetts is seeking to examine McCarrick’s competency to stand trial. His legal team stated that a neurological examination is being conducted by Dr. David Schretlen, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. However, the results of the report are confidential, as they contain sensitive information about McCarrick’s personal life and health.
The report concludes that McCarrick is suffering from a “severe cognitive disorder” and “everyday functional disability” caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Although McCarrick is still intelligent and articulate, his dementia prevents him from consulting with counsel and participating in his defense effectively.
His lawyers maintain that proceeding with the trial would violate McCarrick’s constitutional rights. The Commonwealth will hire its own expert to assess McCarrick’s competency, and a court hearing on the state’s examination of McCarrick is set for April 20.
McCarrick has maintained his innocence throughout the trial, and he has not appeared publicly since his arraignment in Dedham on Sept. 3, 2021.
Photo credit: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk via Flickr
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