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More sexual misconduct claims found 'credible' against former Charlotte Diocese official

Joe Marusak, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Religious News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Four more claims of sexual misconduct against a former top official of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte have been found "credible," Bishop Peter Jugis said Tuesday night.

Monsignor Mauricio West stepped down as vicar general and chancellor of the diocese -- second in command -- in March after an initial claim of sexual misconduct against him was found to be credible, Jugis said in a statement with Benedictine Abbot Placid Solari, chancellor of Belmont Abbey College.

Additional allegations of inappropriate behavior, including unwanted kissing, surfaced after he stepped down, the statement said.

West, who remains on administrative leave, has denied the allegations, according to the statement.

"The finding of a credible allegation is not a finding of guilt but is an allegation of improper behavior that both the diocese and the college take seriously," according to the statement.

The "alleged behavior did not constitute sexual abuse and did not involve a minor," Jugis said in his March statement and again Tuesday.

 

No criminal charges have been filed, The Catholic News Herald reported in March.

The initial allegation involved an adult student at Belmont Abbey College in the mid-1980s, while West was vice president for student affairs at the school, according to the statement. The school is a small, Catholic liberal arts college in Gaston County.

Two of the newer allegations also involved adult students at the college in the 1980s while West supervised students, Jugis and Solari said.

A third claim involved a 1991 incident with an employee at the House of Mercy in Belmont, according to the statement. House of Mercy is a Catholic Sisters of Mercy home caring for persons with AIDS.

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