LA bishop accused of sex abuse steps down
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a bishop in Los Angeles accused of sexually abusing a minor, the Vatican said yesterday, in the latest case of clergy misconduct to shake the US Catholic Church.
A brief Vatican statement said Alexander Salazar (69), an assistant bishop in Los Angeles, was stepping down. It also distributed a letter on the case written by current archbishop of Los Angeles, José Gómez.
The US Catholic Church is still reeling from a grand jury report that found that 301 priests in the state of Pennsylvania had sexually abused minors over a 70-year period.
There will be a major meeting at the Vatican in February on the global sex abuse crisis.
Dr Gómez's letter to the faithful said that in 2005, a year after Bishop Salazar became bishop, the archdiocese had become aware of a claim that Bishop Salazar had engaged in "misconduct with a minor" in a parish in the 1990s.
Police investigated but did not prosecute, the letter said, adding that Bishop Salazar, from Costa Rica, "has consistently denied any wrongdoing".
The archdiocese's independent Clergy Misconduct Review Board found the allegation "credible" and informed the Vatican. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles said Bishop Salazar's name resurfaced after Dr Gómez became archbishop in 2011, and ordered a review of past allegations.
It said Dr Gómez's predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, sent the case to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which investigates abuse cases.
The CDF "permitted Bishop Salazar to remain in ministry subject to certain precautionary conditions". It did not elaborate on what these were.