Pope Francis speaks during a mass held on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Picture: REUTERS
Pope Francis speaks during a mass held on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Picture: REUTERS

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Los Angeles auxiliary bishop Alexander Salazar over his “misconduct” with a minor, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

The case is the latest in a litany of child-sexual abuse scandals to have rocked the Roman Catholic Church of 1.3-billion followers around the world.

The Vatican said an investigation by the archbishop of Los Angeles had found suspicions about Salazar’s behaviour to be “credible”.

A letter from the archbishop, Jose H Gomez, read that in 2005 he had been “made aware of an allegation against Bishop Salazar of misconduct with a minor” during the 1990s when he was serving as a parish priest. The allegations were investigated by the police but not prosecuted, Gomez said.

He said that since Salazar was a bishop when the allegations were made, he had passed the issue to the Vatican “which conducted an investigation and imposed certain precautionary measures”.

Salazar “consistently denied any wrongdoing”, Gomez said, and after obtaining permission from Rome, he had put the matter in the hands of the archdiocese’s “independent clergy misconduct oversight board”.

“The board found the allegation to be credible and I submitted its findings and recommendations along with my own votum to the Holy See to make its final determination as to Bishop Salazar’s status,” he said.

“These decisions have been made out of deep concern for the healing and reconciliation of abuse victims and for the good of the church’s mission. Let us continue to stay close to the victim-survivors of abuse, through our prayer and our actions.”

AFP