An Argentine archbishop has offered his resignation to the Vatican following accusations that he sexually abused students at his seminary, church officials announced.
A book published in August accused Archbishop Edgardo Storni, 66, of sexually abusing at least 47 men at his seminary located in Santa Fe, 310 miles northeast of Buenos Aires, where he has been the archbishop since 1984.
In a prepared statement read to journalists Wednesday, Storni denied the charges, saying that “my renunciation in no way signifies guilt on my part nor does it mean I accept the allegations. God is my judge,” he said.
Last month Argentine journalist Olga Wornat published “Nuestra Santa Madre,” claiming the Vatican investigated Storni in 1994 for possible sexual abuses but dropped the case after concluding there was not enough evidence to support the allegations.
Church officials said Storni offered the Vatican his letter of resignation last week after he met with Pope John Paul II to discuss the allegations.
The Vatican will decide whether to accept Storni’s resignation.
Despite any Vatican decision, Storni still faces a possible lawsuit in Argentina. Local authorities launched an investigation shortly after the publication of the book.
Storni’s resignation comes on the heels of recent sex scandals involving Roman Catholic priests in the United States, Australia, Canada and other countries.