CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Monsignor Mauricio West stepped down from his position as vicar general and chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte after an investigation of sexual misconduct, the Diocese of Charlotte announced Thursday.
Bishop Peter Jugis says West’s stepping down was effective Monday following Lay Review Board of the Diocese’s finding of a “credible allegation of sexual misconduct.”
The alleged events happened in the mid-1980s when West was the vice president for student affairs at Belmont Abbey College, according to the Diocese. The allegations involved “multiple instances of unwanted overtures toward an adult student over a two-year period,” the statement reads.
West denies the allegation. West has been at the center of handling a number of other cases involving allegations against other priests for more than two decades.
In a statement provided to WBTV from Belmont Abbey College, Abbot Placid Solari wrote “we were sorrowful to learn this week that an allegation of sexual misconduct against Monsignor Mauricio West, a current diocesan priest and former Vice President for Student Affairs at Belmont Abbey College, has been determined to be credible.”
Belmont Abbey College maintains they are thoroughly committed to the prevention of sexual misconduct of any kind.
“Although we cannot undo the past, we are dedicated to preventing such inappropriate behavior in the future,” reads the statement from the College. “While it is disheartening that a former student and our entire community have been hurt by this allegation, we are committed to honest and transparency in handling all allegations of misconduct... We have cooperated fully with the Lay Review Board of the Diocese of Charlotte in this matter.”
West was the fourth chancellor of the Charlotte diocese and served for nearly 25 years, which the diocese says is longer than anyone else was in that position.
West served six years as associate pastor of St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte.
No criminal charges have been filed. The alleged abuse did not constitute sexual abuse of involve a minor, Jugis says, but the Diocese’s policy refers all allegations of potential sexual misconduct be subject to investigation.
The Catholic News Herald posted the full statement and release Thursday: “Diocese’s chancellor leaves after sexual misconduct allegation deemed ‘credible.'”
“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. 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," the statement from Jugis read.
A spokesman for the Diocese said they refused to answer any additional questions in an on-camera interview Thursday morning, referring instead to the Bishop’s written statement.
The decision to name a replacement for vicar general and chancellor has not been announced.