Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, who has been at the center of a sex abuse crisis in his diocese, the Vatican said on Wednesday.
The Vatican said Francis had appointed the bishop of Albany, Edward B. Scharfenberger, to administer the Buffalo diocese until a new bishop can be appointed.
Malone, 73, who has been under pressure to resign for years, is stepping down two years before the normal retirement date for bishops.
Malone, who met with the pope last month, has been accused of covering up or mishandling the abuse of dozens of minors by priests in his diocese.
He has denied the accusations and until recently said he would not be stepping down early.
In September, a poll by the local newspaper, The Buffalo News, showed that about 85 percent of Catholics or lapsed Catholics in the area said he should resign.