A new report says that disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 89, gave more than $600,000 in church funds to Catholic clerics over a period of almost 20 years.
McCarrick was removed from ministry and defrocked in 2018 following lurid allegations of sexual misconduct with young boys and men in the church. You can read more on the scandalous background here.
A variety of the recipients were reportedly directly involved in examining misconduct claims against McCarrick.
What are the details?
According to The Washington Post, McCarrick began sending money to high-powered Catholic clerics in 2001.
The funds were drawn on an account — the "Archbishop's Special Fund" — at the Archdiocese of Washington, where McCarrick was archbishop beginning in 2001.
Records show that McCarrick sent Pope John Paul II a sum of $90,000 beginning in 2001 and ending in 2005. McCarrick also sent $291,000 to Pope Benedict XVI. McCarrick reportedly drew nearly 200 checks on the fund and sent them to fellow clerics.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Washington said that McCarrick had control over the fund.
"The funds in the account came from donations sent personally to Mr. McCarrick to direct in his sole discretion," the spokesperson said. "During his tenure in Washington, Mr. McCarrick made contributions to many charitable and religious organizations and members of leadership in the Church."
Reports say that the "special fund" received more than $6 million in donations over a period of 17 years.
"It raises questions about whether McCarrick was buying access or protection," said Rev. Thomas Reese, who is an author and columnist at Religion News Service. "This doesn't pass the smell test."
A Vatican spokesperson declined to comment on the reporting, but church officials say that the Vatican plans to release a comprehensive report about the allegations against McCarrick in "coming months."
The number of alleged victims continues to rise, according to reports, and dates back even to 1970.