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Priest tapped to be bishop by Pope Francis resigns after sexual abuse probe

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A Minnesota priest Pope Francis had recently tapped as bishop for the Duluth, Minn., diocese has resigned over allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

The Vatican said Monday that the pontiff has accepted Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy’s resignation after naming him bishop in June.

Mulloy, who was set to be officially elevated Oct. 1, was serving as an administrator in the Rapid City, S.D., diocese at the time of his appointment. The diocese received the allegation against him last month, according to The Associated Press.

The diocese said in a statement that Mulloy was “directed to refrain from engaging in ministry” and that the allegation was passed onto law enforcement.

“The diocese then commissioned an independent investigation to determine whether the allegation warranted further investigation under Cannon [church] Law,″ the Rapid City diocese statement said. The diocese determined the allegation met the standard for reporting it to the Vatican.

Mulloy submitted his resignation as bishop-elect to Francis after receiving a summary of the allegation against him, according to the diocese.

In July, the Vatican issued new, stricter guidelines on investigations of sexual abuse allegations by clergy.

“Even in cases where there is no explicit legal obligation to do so, the ecclesiastical authorities should make a report to the competent civil authorities if this is considered necessary to protect the person involved or other minors from the danger of further criminal acts,” the new policy states.

The policy also outlines certain violations that are considered abuse even if they do not involve outright sexual assault, including exhibitionism, production of pornography and “conversations and/or propositions of a sexual nature.”

Tags Bishop Catholic Church Minnesota Pope Francis sexual abuse allegations Vatican
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