MEXICO CITY — A former Roman Catholic priest alleges that Mexico City’s cardinal violated the law by not informing authorities outside the church about at least 15 cases of abusive priests.

Alberto Athie says that Cardinal Norberto Rivera first mentioned the cases publicly in December. In defending himself against accusations that he protected abusive priests, Rivera said he had referred at least 15 cases to the Vatican.

Athie filed a complaint on Friday with the Attorney General’s Office, saying that Mexican law required such cases also be reported to law enforcement.

Archdiocese spokesman Hugo Valdemar said the cases Rivera referenced occurred before the law changed in 2013. He says that the archdiocese has notified authorities about three cases since then.

Athie said he did not know which cases Rivera was referring to.

Athie authored a book about Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, and has been publicly critical of how long the Vatican took in dealing with the accusations against Maciel. He brought the allegations to the Vatican’s attention in the late 90s.

Crux staff contributed to this report.