MILWAUKEE (AP) – The Milwaukee Roman Catholic Archdiocese has asked the Vatican to remove a priest from active ministry because of allegations of sexual abuse while he worked in a Catholic school.

A review committee determined that the allegations of abuse by the Rev. Marvin Knighton, 54, were credible, archdiocese spokeswoman Kathleen Hohl said Thursday. She gave no details.

Knighton worked in various archdiocesan jobs, including at a high school in the 1980s, and during the 2000-2001 school year was vice principal at a high school in Phoenix, where he now lives.

Peter Isely, Milwaukee spokesman for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said removing a priest is rare and shows the seriousness of the situation.

“Our concern is that the archdiocese now take responsibility for the ruling,” he said. “They’ve known about his sexual misconduct since at least the late 1970s.”

Isely said he hopes the schools Knighton worked for notify alumni of the ruling.

In August, a Milwaukee County jury found Knighton not guilty on two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child, a former student. Brian Flynn, now 29, said Knighton touched him inappropriately on a number of occasions in the 1980s. Knighton denied the accusations and said Flynn was a disturbed teenager.

The Associated Press could not locate a listing for Knighton in the Phoenix area, and his Milwaukee attorney, Gerald Boyle, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Elsewhere Thursday, a former Roman Catholic high school counselor was sentenced in Mobile, Ala., to the maximum six years in prison for molesting a 14-year-old student in 1991.

Brother Nicholas Paul Bendillo, who was convicted in February, apologized to Clark Glenn Jr., now 27 and living in New Jersey. Bendillo, 75, said he was “very remorseful, very sorry” for what he had done. Glenn never made eye contact with Bendillo, who has several other sexual abuse charges pending.

AP-ES-04-08-04 2258EDT

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