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Cardinal McCarrick resigns over sex abuse allegations

By Sommer Brokaw
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired Archbishop of Washington, from the College of Cardinals Saturday after he sent in a resignation letter Friday evening, amid a sex abuse scandal dating back nearly 50 years. File photo by Patrick D. McDermott/UPI
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired Archbishop of Washington, from the College of Cardinals Saturday after he sent in a resignation letter Friday evening, amid a sex abuse scandal dating back nearly 50 years. File photo by Patrick D. McDermott/UPI | License Photo

July 28 (UPI) -- Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop of Newark, N.J., and Washington, D.C., resigned Saturday amid scandal tied to decades-old sex abuse allegations.

Pope Francis accepted McCarrick's resignation Saturday and directed him to observe "a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial." McCarrick sent his letter to resign as a member of the College of Cardinals to the Pope on Friday evening.

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The scandal stems from allegations of abuse of a teenage altar boy in the early 1970s, while the former archbishop was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

McCarrick, 88, maintained his innocence while the Archdiocese of New York, where he was ordained in 1958, informed him several months ago they were investigating the abuse allegations.

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His resignation comes after an Archdiocesan Review Board, made up of jurists, law enforcement experts, parents, psychologists, a priest and a religious sister, according to an Archdiocese of New York statement, found that the allegations were "credible and substantiated."

The accusation was turned over to New York law enforcement and then investigated by an independent forensic agency, the statement said.

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Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin barred McCarrick from the exercise of any public ministry after the review board's findings, upon direction of the Pope.

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McCarrick is one of the highest-ranking American leaders of the Catholic Church to be removed from ministry due to sex abuse charges.

The pope also has ordered McCarrick to "remain in a house yet to be indicated to him," until the trial.

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