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Pope accepts resignation of L.A. bishop, Alexander Salazar, accused of misconduct

Salazar's resignation is the latest in a string of cases of alleged misconduct against bishops to come to light this year.
Image: Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar, Director of the Department of Justice and Peace holds the Antor
Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar in the downtown Los Angeles Federal Building on Dec. 2, 2009.Mark Boster / LA Times via Getty Images file

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Los Angeles auxiliary bishop Monsignor Alexander Salazar, following allegations of misconduct with a minor in the 1990s.

The Vatican announced the resignation in a statement Wednesday. It was the latest in a string of cases of alleged misconduct against bishops to come to light this year, following the scandal of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The current archbishop of Los Angeles, Most Rev. Jose Gomez, said the archdiocese was made aware of the claim in 2005, which law enforcement had declined to prosecute, but that the archdiocese forwarded the complaint to the Vatican office that handles sex abuse cases.

Gomez said that office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, imposed precautionary measures against Salazar and a further investigation found the allegation credible.

Gomez said Salazar, 69, has "consistently denied any wrongdoing." The archdiocese said it had received no other allegations against Salazar.

"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," Gomez told the Los Angeles faithful in a letter. "Let us continue to stay close to the victim survivors of abuse, through our prayer and our actions."

Gomez said that the alleged misconduct occurred while Salazar was a parish priest in the 1990s, and that the claim was never directly brought to the archdiocese. Other details weren't released.

Francis has been under pressure to confront the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal, and earlier this year, became the first pontiff to denounce a sweeping "culture of abuse and cover-up" in the church.

On Tuesday, the Vatican released the first details of Francis' upcoming high-stakes sex abuse prevention summit, making clear that bishops attending the gathering must reach out to victims before they get to Rome and that accountability is very much on the agenda.

Organizers of the Feb. 21-24 summit warned participants in a letter that failure to address the scandal now threatens the very credibility of the church around the world.