During that meeting, “Mr. Ciolek also spoke of his abuse by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. This was the first time the Diocese of Pittsburgh learned of this allegation,” the statement said.
“A few days later, then-Bishop Donald Wuerl made a report of the allegation to the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States."
The disclosure was the first confirmation by Church authorities that Wuerl was aware of allegations against McCarrick before the Archdiocese of New York announced in June 2018 a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor made against McCarrick.
Ciolek reached a settlement agreement with three New Jersey dioceses in 2005 in connection with clerical sexual abuse allegations. The settlement awarded Ciolek some $80,000 in response to allegations that concerned both McCarrick and a Catholic school teacher.
Wuerl’s letter did not offer detail on the specific allegations Ciolek made against McCarrick, but Archdiocese of Washington spokesman Ed McFadden told CNA last week they concerned behavior by McCarrick at his New Jersey beach house, where the archbishop is alleged to have shared beds with seminarians, and exchanged backrubs with them.
McFadden said Ciolek “never claimed direct sexual engagement with McCarrick” in his complaint to Wuerl.
In a Jan. 10 statement, the Archdiocese of Washington said that “Cardinal Wuerl has attempted to be accurate in addressing questions about Archbishop McCarrick. His statements previously referred to claims of sexual abuse of a minor by Archbishop McCarrick, as well as rumors of such behavior. The Cardinal stands by those statements, which were not intended to be imprecise.”
“Cardinal Wuerl has said that until the accusation of abuse of a minor by Cardinal McCarrick was made in New York, no one from this archdiocese has come forward with an accusation of abuse by Archbishop McCarrick during his time in Washington.”
On Jan. 10, Ciolek told the Washington Post that Wuerl could have acknowledged the report against McCarrick even while honoring his initial request for confidentiality.
“Wuerl at worst could have said: ‘I am aware but I can’t name that person,’” Ciolek said.
Wuerl was appointed to Washington in 2006. The cardinal’s resignation as Archbishop of Washington was accepted Oct. 12, 2018, although he was appointed to serve as interim leader of the archdiocese until his successor can be appointed. That appointment is expected by some Vatican observers to be made before a February Vatican summit on child sexual abuse.
(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.
The cardinal’s Jan. 12 letter acknowledged to DC priests that the controversy surrounding McCarrick “has been disruptive in your ministry and difficult for you personally.”
The cardinal said he was sharing his perspective with the priests while “trusting in your understanding.”
“My remarks are not intended as a self-defense but as a way to share some thoughts personally with you.”
Ed Condon contributed to this report.