Catholic Diocese of Charlotte chancellor leaves after ‘credible' sexual misconduct allegation

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte announced Thursday a chancellor has stepped down after a 'credible' allegation of sexual misconduct. 

Bishop Peter Jugis issued the following statement on March 28 regarding the departure of Monsignor Mauricio West, vicar general and chancellor:

"The Diocese of Charlotte announces that Monsignor Mauricio West has stepped down from his position as vicar general and chancellor, effective Monday, March 25, 2019. His departure follows a recent finding by the Lay Review Board of the Diocese of a credible allegation of sexual misconduct. 

The alleged events occurred in the mid-1980s when Monsignor West was the Vice President for Student Affairs at Belmont Abbey College, and involved multiple instances of unwanted overtures toward an adult student over a two-year period. In February, the individual met personally with the Lay Review Board to discuss the allegation." 

According to the The Diocese of Charlotte, Monsignor West has denied the allegation. During a period of counseling and assessment, they said he will be on "a leave of absence from his ministerial duties."

Bishop Peter Jugis went on to state: 

"While the alleged behavior did not constitute sexual abuse and did not involve a minor, it is the strict policy of the Diocese of Charlotte to refer all allegations by known accusers of potential sexual misconduct to the Lay Review Board for investigation. 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. 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."