Years after McCarrick's encounter with the KGB agent and the FBI request for assistance, McCarrick would refer to the FBI anonymous letters which alleged he was engaging in sexual misconduct. He denied these accusations, though his victims who later came forward have indicated he was sexually abusing boys and young men as early as 1970, as a priest of the New York archdiocese.
The McCarrick Report indicates that McCarrick would emphatically deny the allegations, while seeking law enforcement help to respond to them.
In 1992 and 1993 an unknown author or authors circulated anonymous letters to leading Catholic bishops accusing McCarrick of sexual abuse. The letters did not name specific victims or present any knowledge of a specific incident, though they suggested his "nephews"--young men McCarrick frequently singled out for special treatment--were potential victims, the McCarrick Report states.
An anonymous letter sent to Cardinal O'Connor, dated Nov. 1, 1992, postmarked from Newark and addressed to National Conference of Catholic Bishops members, claimed imminent scandal from McCarrick's misconduct, which it alleged was "common knowledge in clerical and religious circles for years." The letter claimed that civil charges of "pedophilia or incest" were imminent regarding McCarrick's "overnight guests."
After O'Connor sent the letter to McCarrick, McCarrick indicated he was investigating.
"You might want to know that I have shared (the letter) with some of our friends in the FBI to see if we can find out who is writing it," McCarrick said to O'Connor in a Nov. 21, 1992 response. "I am afraid he is a sick person and someone who has a lot of hate in his heart."
A Newark-postmarked anonymous letter, dated Feb. 24, 1993 and sent to O'Connor, accused McCarrick of being a "cunning pedophile," without naming specifics, and also claiming that this had been known for decades by "authorities here and in Rome."
In a March 15, 1993 letter to O'Connor, McCarrick again cited his consultations with law enforcement.
"When the first letter arrived, after discussion with my vicars general and auxiliary bishops, we shared it with our friends in the FBI and local police," McCarrick said. "They predicted that the writer would strike again and that he or she was someone whom I may have offended or crossed in some way but someone probably known to us. The second letter clearly supports that supposition."
The same day, McCarrick wrote to Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, saying anonymous letters were "attacking my reputation."
"These letters, which presumably are written by the same person, are unsigned and obviously very annoying," he said. "On each occasion, I have shared them with my auxiliary bishops and vicars general and with our friends in the FBI and the local police."
(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 McCarrick Report said that the anonymous letters "appear to have been viewed as libelous attacks made for improper political or personal motives" and did not result in any investigation.
When Pope John Paul II was considering whether to name McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington, Cacciavillan considered McCarrick's report about the accusations to be a point in McCarrick's favor. He specifically cited the Nov. 21, 1992 letter to O'Connor.
By 1999, Cardinal O'Connor had come to believe McCarrick might be guilty of some kind of misconduct. He asked Pope John Paul II not to name McCarrick as O'Connor's successor in New York, citing allegations that McCarrick shared beds with seminarians, among other rumors and allegations.
The report depicts McCarrick as an ambitious workaholic and a cunning personality, at ease in circles of influence and establishing contacts with political and religious leaders. He spoke several languages and would serve on delegations for the Vatican, the U.S. State Department, and NGOs. He would at times accompany Pope John Paul II during his travels.
The new Vatican report indicates McCarrick's networking included many law enforcement officials.
"During his time as ordinary of the Archdiocese of Newark, McCarrick made numerous contacts in state and federal law enforcement," said the Vatican report. Thomas E. Durkin, described as McCarrick's "well-connected New Jersey attorney," helped McCarrick meet the leaders of the New Jersey State Troopers and the head of the FBI in New Jersey.