Multiple reports of sexual harassment and “inappropriate touching” of seminarians by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, 88, who was removed from the ministry of the Catholic Church last month, were made decades before his ouster, The New York Times reported early Monday. Between 1994 and 2008, multiple incidents were reported to U.S. bishops and two settlements were paid—all while McCarrick played an active role in the church’s new “zero-tolerance” campaign against child abuse as the public face of the Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. One alleged victim, Robert Ciolek, said the lack of abuse reporting procedures and culture of loyalty make this type of abuse more possible in the church. “I trusted him, I confided in him, I admired him,” Ciolek said. “I couldn’t imagine that he would have anything other than my best interests in mind.” McCarrick was removed after “credible” allegations that he sexually abused a teenager.
A New York City priest, Rev. Boniface Ramsey, told the Times he attempted to warn Cardinal Edward Egan of the Archdiocese of New York in 2008, but was cut off by the powerful cleric. Ramsey said he then wrote a letter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley in Boston—Pope Francis’ U.S. point man on the church child sex- abuse scandal—but never heard back. “I have blown the whistle for 30 years without getting anywhere,” Ramsey said. O’Malley declined a Times request for comment.