Bail was set at $5,000 for defrocked former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who is charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy at Wellesley College in the 1970s.
A not-guilty plea was entered on McCarrick's behalf during his arraignment in Dedham District Court Friday, where he remained silent.
Wellesley police charged McCarrick, now 91 and living in Missouri, more than a month ago with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14. Advocates for victims of clergy abuse protested outside of the courthouse before his 9 a.m. arraignment Friday.
Bail was set with the conditions that McCarrick stay away from and have no contact with the victim as well as with children under the age of 18. McCarrick must also surrender his passport by Sept. 17, he cannot travel outside of the U.S. during the case and he must update his address if he moves from his current location.
McCarrick is due back in court on Oct. 28.
The criminal complaint makes McCarrick the highest ranking Catholic official in the United States to face criminal charges in the sexual abuse crisis that has plagued the church for decades.
McCarrick was investigated and defrocked by Pope Francis after a former altar boy came forward in 2017 to report the prelate had groped him when he was a teenager in the 1970s. It was the first time someone had claimed to be abused by McCarrick while a minor, a serious crime in the Vatican’s in-house legal system.
McCarrick allegedly immersed himself into "the fabric of the victim's family," the state prosecutor said in court, and then "used his status as a priest to access and pray the victim upon the victim." He used confession to get the victim away from his family and sexually assault him, the prosecutor said.
Several other men had filed civil lawsuits in New York and New Jersey alleging that McCarrick sexually abused them in those states in the 1970s and 1980s when they were just children. No criminal charges were pursued because the statute of limitations had expired.
The Boston Globe reported that the charges, which stem from a 1974 wedding in Wellesley, can go forward because the statute of limitations stopped running when McCarrick left Massachusetts.
The victim's name is redacted from court documents. His lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said Friday, "This day for my client is very emotional. Today’s arraignment provides hope to clergy sexual abuse victims and survivors that justice will prevail and the truth will be heard and children will be kept safe."
In a statement issued Friday, Garabedian added, "Today, history is being made. History that will not be forgotten."
"The trailblazing complainant is sending a direct message to the Catholic Church that its reign of sexual abuse by Bishops and Cardinals is going to be confronted head on," Garabedian said. "Pope Francis should reveal what the Catholic Church knows about Bishops and Cardinals sexually abusing children throughout history."