Former Catholic Monsignor defrocked

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PHOENIX (AP) -- The Phoenix Catholic Diocese announced Tuesday that former Monsignor Dale Fushek has been defrocked. The Vatican removed Fushek from his right to exercise the functions of the priesthood.

The Diocese said the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted received a "Decree of Dismissal" from the Vatican in which the Bishop was notified that the penalty of dismissal has been imposed on Fushek.

The Diocese said the penalty was imposed by order of Pope Benedict and the decision is not open to appeal.

Once the second highest official in the Phoenix Diocese, Fushek is charged with one count each of assault and indecent exposure, and five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Fushek issued a statement Tuesday saying he chose not to participate or defend himself in the process, adding he is at peace and free to pursue God's will.

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