Both assessments concluded that the disgraced former archbishop of Washington, D.C., is too cognitively impaired to actively participate in his defense.
Online court records from the Wisconsin case reveal that the prosecution is “not contesting the report but believes [McCarrick] needs to be present for court to have colloquy regarding results.”
Colloquy refers to the discussion at a hearing between the judge and the defendant to make sure the defendant understands the proceedings.
Buting said that McCarrick can’t travel “due to physical and mental issues” and will try to set up a video or phone call to allow McCarrick to appear in court. The attorney said, however, that he “is not confident defendant will be able to do that,” the court record says.
McCarrick’s defense in the Wisconsin case raised the issue of competency in earlier court proceedings citing the psychological evaluations from the Massachusetts case, Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld told CNA in September.
The state of Wisconsin originally objected to Nelligan’s appointment. But McCarrick’s defense asked the court to appoint her as the examiner because they said it would be “more efficient,” Wiedenfeld said at the time.
The court can choose its own examiner and that sometimes happens in cases where a psychologist “has a history in evaluating a person,” he said.
The Wisconsin allegations
The Wisconsin complaint alleges the assault took place in April 1977 in the water at a Geneva Lake residence, located in Walworth County in southern Wisconsin.
McCarrick was still a priest with the honorary title of monsignor at the time. He was ordained auxiliary bishop of New York just a couple of months later.
Bernardin, who was serving as the archbishop of Cincinnati in 1977, was raised to the status of cardinal about six years later.
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According to the complaint, “[Grein] stated that [he] was in the water off of the dock at the residence when the defendant and another adult male entered the water. [Grein] stated that the defendant and the other adult male fondled [Grein’s] penis without his consent and the defendant and the other adult male discussed [Grein’s] penis while they were in the water.”
Bernardin was an influential figure in the Catholic Church in the United States, becoming a bishop in his 30s and serving as the general secretary of the NCCB/USCC (today known as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops).
According to the Illinois attorney general’s clergy sexual abuse report on the Archdiocese of Chicago, released in 2023, Bernadin created a majority laity diocesan review board that was a “significant step forward in addressing child sex abuse by clerics.”
The report said that Bernardin followed the recommendations of a clergy sexual abuse commission that he created in 1992. “As a result, the archdiocese found itself a leader in a new era of handling abuse claims,” the report said.
The U.S. bishops’ conference also honored Bernardin by naming “The Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award,” after him. The award is an initiative under the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which recognizes the leadership of young people in working with the poor.
The criminal complaint also states that McCarrick had sexually assaulted Grein prior to the incident “numerous times” and that McCarrick was “the holy man” for Grein’s family.