KANSAS CITY, Missouri — A former Kansas City-area priest who faced multiple allegations of sexually abusing minors was officially dismissed from the priesthood by the Vatican four days before he died, church officials said.

Bishop James Johnston Jr., of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, announced this month that the Vatican had confirmed an earlier decision to defrock Michael Tierney because of the sexual abuse.

Tierney, who repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, appealed the first ruling. The decision upholding his dismissal was made on Dec. 11. Tierney died Dec. 15 at the age of 76, The Kansas City Star reported.

Tierney served in several Kansas City-area parishes after being ordained in 1969. He was removed from pastoral duties in 2011 and was included on a list of more than two dozen credibly accused priests published by the diocese in 2019. He was never prosecuted.

In 2014, Tierney was one of the priests covered in a $10 million settlement agreement the diocese made covering 32 lawsuits filed from September 2010 through February 2014. The lawsuits alleged sexual abuse involving 14 current and former priests in cases over spanned three decades.