Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Defrocked Cardinal and Archbishop Theodore McCarrick says Pope John Paul II elevated him in the Catholic Church nearly 20 years ago even though he knew about accusations of sexual misconduct, a Vatican report said Tuesday.
The 461-page report said the former pope elevated McCarrick to cardinal in 2001 despite knowledge of the numerous accusations.
The accusations say McCarrick had sexual contact with at least one priest and multiple children. They also say he shared his bed with young adult men and, later, adult seminarians at a beach house in New Jersey.
McCarrick, 90, who served for years in the 2000s as the church's Archbishop in Washington, D.C., denied the accusations to Pope John Paul II around the turn of the century. He retired as archbishop in 2006 but remained as a cardinal until 2018.
"At the time of McCarrick's appointment, and in part because of the limited nature of the [Vatican's] own prior investigations, [we] had never received a complaint directly from a victim, whether adult or minor, about McCarrick's misconduct," the report states.
"For this reason, McCarrick's supporters could plausibly characterize the allegations against him as 'gossip' or 'rumors.'"
McCarrick continued denying the claims when they continued into the period of church leadership by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, according to the assessment, and Pope Francis didn't receive any documents about accusations involving McCarrick until 2017.
In July, McCarrick and other clerics were sued by a man who accused them of sexual abuse and said they were part of a "sex ring" that operated out of a New Jersey beach house in the early 1980s.
The suit said McCarrick and five other officials used the beach house to abuse young boys in 1982 and 1983.
Two months earlier, a series of leaked emails indicated that McCarrick had been disciplined by the church over past accusations of misconduct but he still allowed to travel and work under Pope Benedict and Pope Francis.
Former Vatican diplomat Carlo Maria Vigano said Francis was aware of restrictions placed on McCarrick after he was accused of sleeping with seminarians.
In 2019, McCarrick was found guilty by the Vatican of sexually abusing minors and dismissed from the clergy. At the time, he became the highest-ranking Catholic official in the United States to be expelled during over long-running accusations of sex abuse within the church.