November 16th, 2010
12:49 PM ET
New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan was chosen Tuesday as the next leader of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Dolan defeated Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, and eight others to win the three-year term. The vote was 128-111, according to conference spokesman Don Clemmer.
Dolan will replace Cardinal Francis George, who did not run for re-election.
Kicanas, the group's outgoing vice president, was considered a likely candidate for the job but faced criticism from a group called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests over allegations he failed to work hard enough to protect children from a Chicago, Illinois, priest who was later convicted of molestation, according to the group.
"We're grateful that Kicanas lost. While it's risky to speculate, we hope his reckless promotion of a sexually troubled priest who later molested 20 boys played a role is his defeat," David Clohessy, the executive director of SNAP, said in an e-mailed statement.
Kicanas has denied the allegations in an e-mail interview with the National Catholic Register.
Despite his election, Dolan is facing critics of his own.
"He's charming and affable but as bad or worse than most bishops when it comes to clergy sex crimes and cover ups," Clohessy said. "His deceitful and secretive moves to help a serial predator priest quietly resign in August are particularly upsetting."
The group claims Dolan allowed a prominent priest to resign, despite claims from at least nine men who have accused him of molesting them when they were boys, the group said.
Two years ago, Dolan's predecessor found the allegations credible and suspended the priest, the group said.
On Monday, Dolan's office declined to respond to CNN's questions about the priest.
Dolan, 60, was ordained in 1976, according to his conference biography. He has been a bishop since 2001, serving as the archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from 2002 to 2009 before moving to New York.
He is the chairman of the Catholic Relief Service board, and serves on conference committees on Jewish affairs, budget matters, the church in Africa, and international justice and peace.
During his three-year term, he will lead the conference's effort to unite Catholic bishops on vital issues, work with Catholic church officials in other nations, and assist bishops in leading their dioceses.
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