Defrocked former cardinal Theodore McCarrick is facing charges that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy at Wellesley College in the 1970s.
Wellesley police have charged McCarrick, now 91 and living in Missouri, with indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, the Norfolk District Attorney's Office confirmed Thursday.
McCarrick was investigated and defrocked by Pope Francis after a former altar boy came forward in 2017 to report the prelate had groped him when he was a teenager in the 1970s. It was the first time someone had claimed to be abused by McCarrick while a minor, a serious crime in the Vatican’s in-house legal system.
Several other men had filed civil lawsuits in New York and New Jersey alleging that McCarrick sexually abused them in those states in the 1970s and 1980s when they were just children. No criminal charges were pursued because the statute of limitations had expired.
The Globe reported that the Wellesley charges can go forward because the statute of limitations stopped running when McCarrick left Massachusetts.
Barry Coburn, McCarrick's lawyer, told the Globe that "we will look forward to addressing this issue in the courtroom," but declined further comment.
The victim's name is redacted from the court paperwork. His lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, issued a statement Thursday saying "It takes an enormous amount of courage for a sexual abuse victim to report having been sexually abused to investigators and proceed through the criminal process."
"Let the facts be presented, the law applied, and a fair verdict rendered."
Garabedian also noted that this is the first time in the U.S. that a cardinal has been criminally charged with a sexual crime against a minor.
McCarrick is tentatively scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 26 in Dedham District Court.
Barry Coburn, an attorney for McCarrick, told The Associated Press that they “look forward to addressing the case in the courtroom," and declined further comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.