BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley said the punishment of Theodore McCarrick is one of the pope’s most important.

“Leadership in the church must enforce accountability for cardinals and bishops … if we hope to have the opportunity to engage the laity in the work of tangible change in the church,” O’Malley said in a statement.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

The Pope defrocked McCarrick, the former archbishop and cardinal of Washington, D.C., after the Vatican found him guilty of sex abuse.

The 88-year-old McCarrick was accused of sexually abusing a teen more than 50 years ago. He was also accused of later “misconduct” with adults.

US cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick in 2013 at the Vatican. (Photo credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

O’Malley apologized after revealing a secretary never handed him a letter in 2015 detailing allegations of misconduct against McCarrick.

O’Malley is the president of the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors.

However, Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer who has worked dozens of survivors of sexual abuse, calls it “spin control.”

“Where’s the Pope been? He’s known about the McCarrick problem for as long time. Where’s he been?”Garabedian asked. “When you have a high-ranking official, one of the highest-ranking officials in the United States and an archbishop, sexually abusing children…then that tells you how rotten to the core the problem is.”

Jim Smith