Vatican accepts resignation of U.S. cardinal accused of sex abuse

Pope Francis ordered Theodore McCarrick to conduct "a life of prayer and penance" until sex abuse accusations against him are examined in a Catholic church trial. A New York City man has accused the U.S. cardinal of sexually abusing him for two decades starting at age 11.

Pope Francis has ordered Theodore McCarrick to conduct 'a life of prayer and penance'

In this Sept. 23, 2015 file photo, Pope Francis reaches out to hug then Cardinal Archbishop emeritus Theodore McCarrick after midday prayers at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. Francis accepted McCarrick's offer to resign from the College of Cardinals Saturday, July 28, 2018. (Jonathan Newton/Associated Press)

The Vatican says Pope Francis has accepted U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick's offer to resign from the College of Cardinals.

A Saturday statement said Francis received the letter of resignation a day earlier by the former Washington, D.C. archbishop.

Besides agreeing to McCarrick's stepping down as a cardinal, Francis ordered him to conduct "a life of prayer and penance" until sex abuse accusations against him are examined in a Catholic church trial.

McCarrick has been removed from public ministry since June 20, pending a full investigation into allegations he fondled a teenager over 40 years ago in New York City.

A man, who was 11 at the time of the first alleged instance of abuse, says a sexually abusive relationship continued for two more decades. McCarrick has denied the allegation.