US cardinal McCarrick expelled from Catholic priesthood

File: US cardinal Edgar Theodore McCarrick arrives for talks ahead of a conclave to elect a new pope on March 4, 2013 at the Vatican. 


JOHANNESBURG - The Vatican has expelled disgraced former US cardinal Theodore McCarrick from the Catholic priesthood.

He was found guilty of sexual crimes against minors and adults.

McCarrick is the highest profile church figure to be dismissed from the priesthood in modern times.

He was Archbishop of Washington DC  between 2001 and 2006.

WATCH: Catholic Church on sexual abuse in the church

The sex abuse allegations against him date back decades.

McCarrick appealed the decision but Pope Francis declared it final.

With this ruling, the Pontiff seems to be sending the signal that abuse in the church will no longer be tolerated.