Oscar Romero's Aide Guilty Of Child Sex Abuse, Vatican Inquiry Concludes

A picture of late Archbishop of San Salvador Oscar Arnulfo Romero is seen under solar halo during his beatification ceremony at El Salvador del Mundo square in San Salvador. Salvadoran Archbishop Romero, who was murdered by a right-wing death squad in 1980 and is an icon of the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America, had died as a martyr and was beatified in 2015.Reuters

Three Catholic priests from San Salvador have been removed from the priesthood after being found guilty of sexual abuse.

The Archbishop of San Salvador, José Luis Escobar, confirmed that the well-known clergy Jesús Delgado, Francisco Gálvez  and Antonio Molina have been laicised, "totally and definitively" losing all priestly functions, La Prensa reports.

"From now on, they can not exercise any office or priestly function according to canon 292 of the Code of Canon Law. These resolutions of the Holy See have already been communicated respectively to each of the aforementioned priests.

"We have also communicated it to the victims, to each one of the cases respectively, and today we make it known to all," said Archbishop Escobar.

Jesús Delgado was removed last year from his post as third in command of the Catholic Church of El Salvador.

He was the country's first priest to be suspended for child sex abuse.

His accuser was a woman, now aged 43, who reported that she had been abused by Delgado when she was aged between nine and 17 in the 1980s.

There cannot be a civil prosecution because the time limit has passed on the cases. Delgado has indicated he is willing to meet his victim to ask for forgiveness.

Gálvez was suspended as parish priest of Nuestra Señora del Rosario church in Rosario de Mora, San Salvador, also for having sexually abused children. Molina, removed from his post at Santa Cruz de Rome in Panchimalco, was denounced twice for for sexual abuse against minors more than 20 years ago.

Archbishop Escobar said the main concern was for the good of the children and the girls.

He said the Church had to be like "a loving mother" - as Pope Francis said, in favor of the small, the weakest. The Church had to be with the victims. And there had to be zero tolerance in these cases. The depositions of the priests were a step forward, he said.

"I hope there is a mature attitude on the part of all to see the goodness of this situation, because after all, the Church acts like this for the good of all."

There are currently no other cases pending in El Salvador, whose most famous Archbishop was the martyr Oscar Romero, beatified last year. Delgado, 77, was Romero's private secretary and biographer.

"But we are open for any denunciation and follow-up. We are in total harmony with the pope's feeling of zero tolerance over this," said Archbishop Escobar.