Former East Tenn. priest removed from priesthood

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful during the weekly general audience in St. Peter's sqaure at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Vatican has removed William Casey from the Roman Catholic priesthood after Casey's conviction in the sexual abuse of a teenage altar boy.

The Rev. David Boettner, a vicar general for the diocese, on Thursday confirmed the papal action in 2012, returning Casey to laity status.

Reaction from a spokeswoman for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests was sharp. Nancy Vance of the Knoxville chapter of SNAP asked why it took so long, noting that the Vatican was informed on April 4, 2010, of charges against Casey.

He was convicted in 2011 of abusing a boy, then 13 and 14, while serving at St. Dominic's Catholic Church in Kingsport, Tenn.

Boettner said the diocese had tried to contact the man who brought the charges and Casey, but was unsuccessful in both cases.