DEDHAM, Mass. – The first pretrial hearing in the criminal sex abuse case against ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick came and went in a matter of minutes. The case was continued until December 21, for a second pretrial hearing.
The attention paid to the case at Dedham District Court on Oct. 28 was noticeably different from that of McCarrick’s arraignment at the Massachusetts courthouse on Sept. 3. There was hardly any media presence and the court operated as normal with McCarrick’s pretrial hearing lumped in with 30-plus other cases on the docket.
McCarrick was criminally charged in July with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 stemming the alleged sexual assault of a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception at Wellesley College on June 8, 1974.
McCarrick’s in person appearance at the arraignment was his first public appearance since 2018. He is first former or current U.S. cardinal to be charged criminally with sexual abuse.
McCarrick’s presence for the pretrial hearing was waived. He was released at his arraignment on the conditions he pay $5,000 cash bail, have no contact with the alleged victim or anyone under 18, not leave the United States, and to surrender his passport. He was also warned that if he is charged with a crime in the time until his pretrial hearing he could be incarcerated.
Even though the charges are from nearly 50 years ago, a specific aspect of the statute of limitations on criminal charges in Massachusetts allowed McCarrick’s accuser to pursue charges for the alleged sexual assault. The statute of limitations for criminal cases in Massachusetts is set up to “toll” or pause when the offender is out of the state. McCarrick has never resided in Massachusetts, therefore, the statute of limitations for this case doesn’t apply.
McCarrick’s case was the first called by the judge shortly after 9 a.m. on Oct. 28. There was no discussion other than to continue the case to December. The alleged victim remains unnamed. The person is represented by Mitchell Garabedian — a longtime attorney known for representing those who have made allegations against the Catholic clergy.
After McCarrick’s arraignment, Garabedian told reporters that “justice will prevail.”
“My client, a courageous clergy sex abuse survivor, is strong and is ready to face Cardinal McCarrick,” Garabedian said.
Follow John Lavenburg on Twitter: @johnlavenburg