The lawsuit also accuses the Vatican, former Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis of concealing abuse allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. File Photo by Patrick D. McDermott/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A New Jersey man filed a lawsuit accusing former Washington, D.C., Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of sexual abuse in the mid-1990s.
John Bellocchio, 37, filed the lawsuit Monday in New Jersey, one day after the state opened a two-year window for victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church to take legal action. The alleged abuse happened when McCarrick was archbishop of Newark.
Bellocchio said he was 14 years old when McCarrick visited his parish in Hackensack around 1995 and abused him. He also named the Vatican, former Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, accusing them of concealing McCarrick's abuse for decades.
"For a very long time I have lived with the humiliation and degradation that he heaped upon me at that time," Bellocchio told The Washington Post on Tuesday. "For me, this means being able to be a part of the Catholic Church coming to terms with what it has long denied. It's time for the Catholic Church to confront all of it sins and make amends."
McCarrick became leader of the Archdiocese of Washington after the alleged abuse, from 2000 to 2006.
Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick in February after the Vatican found him guilty of sex abuse.
The Congress of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith found him guilty in January of "solicitation in Confession," and sins with minors and adults along "with the aggravating circumstance of the abuse of power."
McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals in July 2018 amid fallout from an Archdiocese Review Board investigation into allegations he abused a teenage altar boy while he was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. The pope prohibited him from exercising public ministry at the time and requested that he lead a life of prayer and penance.