MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (KMSP) - Another major scandal rocked the Catholic Church as Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a high ranking U.S. Cardinal following sexual abuse claims Saturday.
“It’s unprecedented that a cardinal would be removed from service in the first place, even related to child sexual abuse allegations,” said Minneapolis lawyer Patrick Noaker, who represents two alleged abuse victims of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. “This has only occurred one other time in at least recent history.”
Pope Francis accepted the letter of resignation from McCarrick after he was accused of decades of sexual abuse.
The 88-year-old was one of the highest ranking U.S. officials in the Catholic Church, but the Pope effectively stripped him of that title, ordering him to serve a “life of prayer and penance.”
“He’s been accused of childhood sexual abuse, so he should not be at the helm of any organization,” Noaker said.
Noaker added, “I think the Pope dealing with him in this way is a good step in the right direction, but we have to remember there are victims that really need our help.”
Noaker’s clients include on man who was reportedly abused as an altar boy. The other client is a family friend. The man said McCarrick abused him over the course of two decades.
“I didn’t know what to do, I had no clue what had just happened to me,” the man said. “I’m 14 years old and I don’t know how to act.”
Noaker says helping bring these stories is what he will continue to fight for.
“I want to be part of the solution and my clients though give me the opportunity to be a part of that solution,” he said. “I think that is what today is at least a start of – a solution that we need to protect kids better.”
The President of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement saying, “I thank the holy father for his leadership in taking this important step.”
Noaker says he believes a future criminal case against McCarrick is still possible.