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Statement of the Most Reverend James F. Checchio, JCL, MBA, Bishop of Metuchen

June 20, 2018

I was very saddened to be advised by the Archbishop of New York that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick – who served as the Bishop of Metuchen from 1982 to 1986 – is alleged to have sexually abused a minor forty-seven years ago when he was a priest in the Archdiocese of New York. I have also been advised that Cardinal McCarrick himself has disputed this allegation and is appealing this matter through the canonical process.

This very disturbing report has prompted me to direct that the records of our Diocese be re-examined, and I can report to you that there has never been any report or allegation that Cardinal McCarrick ever abused any minor during his time here in Metuchen. In the past, there have been allegations that he engaged in sexual behavior with adults. This Diocese and the Archdiocese of Newark received three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements.

The abuse of anyone who is vulnerable is both shameful and horrific. The abuse of a minor by a priest – as is being reported in this case from New York – is an abomination and sickens and saddens us all.

The work of building the Kingdom of God in this diocese is much more than its bishops, and I thank you for all of your help here in the Diocese of Metuchen in supporting our common mission. In particular, I am grateful for the substantial work of our training programs, background checks and zero-tolerance policies which are carefully designed both to protect those entrusted to our care and to prevent harm to our children in the future.

I offer my sincere apologies to anyone who has ever been victimized, and I ask anyone who has been abused by any clergy to report it directly to law enforcement. I want all victims to know that they are always in my prayers, and I ask everyone in the Diocese to join with me in praying that the Lord will bring them courage, healing and consolation.

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