WASHINGTON, D.C. – For more than 30 years, the Archdiocese of Washington has encouraged survivors of sexual abuse to come forward, and has sought to not only address claims of abuse swiftly, but to also offer assistance to survivors of abuse in the hope of bringing healing to those who have been harmed.
When the first claim against Archbishop McCarrick was filed in the Archdiocese of New York, the Archdiocese of Washington reviewed its own files and found no complaints of any kind made against Archbishop McCarrick. Further, the confidential settlements involving acts by Archbishop McCarrick in the Diocese of Metuchen and the Archdiocese of Newark were not known previously to Cardinal Wuerl or the Archdiocese of Washington.
In the aftermath of these claims in New York, Newark and Metuchen, we now have individuals courageously stepping forward – though anonymously due to understandable privacy concerns – and speaking to the media regarding additional claims of abuse by Archbishop McCarrick that heretofore were not known to the Archdiocese of Washington. These experiences shared by survivors are profoundly troubling and represent a breach of trust and wounding that no person should bear alone. Cardinal Wuerl again recently affirmed that those coming forward with new allegations show also a confidence in the Church to take seriously these charges and act quickly in responding.
We continue to pray for the survivors of such abuse and understand how difficult it is to share such painful memories. While the struggle to confront such experiences is difficult for survivors, the archdiocese wishes to accompany them and help them through this process. The archdiocese encourages all coming forward to share these experiences with any diocese in which they reside so that these grave issues can be reviewed promptly by Church authorities, and that we can offer assistance to begin the process for healing and peace.