The Washington Post reported that McCloskey groped the woman on several occasions while giving her spiritual direction. According to that report, the woman was left with feelings of guilt and shame, and struggled with depression. The Post also reported that the woman took her concerns to McCloskey in the confessional, where he absolved her.
Bohlin said that Opus Dei had acted swiftly when the complaint was first made, telling McCloskey to have no further contact with the woman and to offer spiritual direction to women only through a screen in a traditional confessional - something Bohlin noted was already a rule for Opus Dei priests.
"After investigating the complaint in subsequent months, we found the complaint to be credible, and in December 2003, Father McCloskey was removed from his position at the CIC," Bohlin said in the statement.
After leaving Washington, McCloskey was first sent to the United Kingdom before being assigned in different regions of the United States. McCloskey has since returned to the Washington area because of his declining health.
Bohlin stated that McCloskey's ministry had been restricted since he left Washington, and his contact with women limited to the confessional. "Throughout the years, we were careful to ensure that he would not have any opportunities to engage in the kind of actions that led to the complaint."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Opus Dei is personal prelature founded in Spain by St. Jose Maria Escriva in 1928 and first approved by the Vatican in 1950.
According to Opus Dei, McCloskey is currently suffering from advanced Alzheimer's disease and is unable to say Mass, even privately, as he is "largely incapacitated."
"I would also ask you to pray for Father McCloskey as his health continues to decline," Bohlin said.