CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte stepped down after a former student accused him of sexual misconduct, according to the Catholic News Herald.
Monsignor Mauricio West denies the allegation. He left his position on Monday, according to a Thursday announcement.
The diocese includes 46 counties across western North Carolina.
A former adult student at Belmont Abbey College said there were “multiple instances of unwanted overtures” taking place over two years in the mid-1980s, according to the Catholic News Herald. At that time, West was vice president for student affairs.
The diocese’s lay review board conducted an independent investigation and met with the former student. They concluded the allegation was “credible.”
West does not face criminal charges.
Bishop Peter Jugis said in a statement that the allegations do not involve abuse of a child and that misconduct “includes boundary violations and improper behavior by clergy, lay people and church volunteers involving children and adults.”
“Personally, and on behalf of the Catholic Church, I extend our deepest apologies to the victim in this case and pray for all who have suffered from misconduct,” Jugis said. “The Diocese of Charlotte is committed to taking all necessary steps to root out all inappropriate behavior and to being open and transparent about our handling of all allegations of such conduct.”
While West is still permitted to serve as a priest, he will be on a leave of absence through a period of counseling and assessment.