Newly installed Roman Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco pleaded guilty in San Diego Superior Court on Monday to a misdemeanor reckless driving charge, according to the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. Cordileone, 56, who was previously bishop of the Diocese of Oakland, was installed as archbishop in a ceremony at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco this afternoon.
The plea stemmed from his arrest at a drunken driving checkpoint in San Diego early in the morning of Aug. 25. Cordileone later said he had been visiting his mother in San Diego and had been driving her home after a dinner with some friends. San Diego City Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Gina Coburn said Cordileone was initially charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit of 0.08 percent. He had been scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 9 on those charges, she said.
Instead, Coburn said, Cordileone pleaded guilty Monday to the lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless driving. In San Diego, misdemeanor DUI offenses are prosecuted by the City Attorney’s Office. Coburn said Cordileone’s sentence is not yet registered in the court’s computer records, but said she believes his sentence is three years of probation, a $1,120 fine and attendance at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact panel and a Department of Motor Vehicles first conviction program.
Archdiocese spokesman George Wesolek said he had no comment on the plea. Wesolek said that during a homily at today’s installation, Cordileone referred to the incident, but not specifically to the guilty plea, and said his “terrible error in judgment” was a reminder of the need to be humble. Two days after his arrest, Cordileone said in a statement, “I apologize for my error in judgment and feel shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the church and myself.”
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