Cardinal George elected head of bishops

Nov. 13, 2007 at 3:29 PM

BALTIMORE, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Cardinal Francis George, head of the Chicago Roman Catholic archdiocese, was elected Tuesday as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Advocates for those sexually molested by priests protested the meeting at a Baltimore hotel, The Chicago Tribune reported. They accuse George of failing to remove a priest charged in 2005 with molesting boys. The priest pleaded guilty this year and received a prison sentence.

A Chicago native, George joined the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1957 when he was 20. He later spent a decade in Rome as the order's vicar general.

Pope John Paul II named George bishop of Yakima, Wash., in 1990, and archbishop of Chicago in 1997.

George is the first cardinal to head the bishops' conference. Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, a transplant from Chicago, was named vice president.

The new leaders are to be installed Thursday.

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