A high-ranking Roman Catholic official has been exonerated of clergy sex abuse allegations by a Vatican tribunal after a decade of investigation and is once more considered a priest in good standing with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, church officials said Monday.
The decision to reinstate Msgr. Richard Loomis is rare — particularly after so many years — and the move drew immediate condemnation from an attorney for the alleged victim and church critics who say the tribunal never reached out to the accusers of Loomis after they gave an initial account and didn’t inform them of the decision.
Loomis, 68, has been on inactive leave and living outside the church since allegations surfaced in 2003 that he molested a boy between 1968 and 1971 at a Catholic high school where he taught.
Another boy told his parents in 1974 that he had been molested by Loomis, and the family reported it to a parish priest, according to church documents.
Loomis has denied any wrongdoing and was never criminally charged. The archdiocese settled one civil claim against him in 2007 as part of a record-breaking, $660 million deal with hundreds of people who accused priests of abuse.
Loomis has not been given a parish assignment but is once more able to perform sacraments, such as baptisms and confirmations, and taking confessions, said Monica Valencia, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles archdiocese.
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