The Roman Catholic archbishop-elect of San Francisco has been arrested for investigation of driving under the influence in San Diego.
Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, 56, was arrested at 12:26 a.m. on Saturday at the 5100-block of College Avenue in College Area, said Officer Mark McCullough. Cordileone was booked in county jail, but was later bailed out just before noon at $2,500.
In a statement from Cordileone, he said he was visiting San Diego to have dinner with friends from outside the country. He was driving his mother home when he hit the checkpoint and was found to have more than the legal amount of alcohol in his system, he said.
“I apologize for my error in judgment and feel shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the Church and myself," he said. "I will repay my debt to society and I ask forgiveness from my family and my friends and co-workers at the Diocese of Oakland and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I pray that God, in His inscrutable wisdom, will bring some good out of this.”
Cordileone was born and raised in San Diego. He earned his bachelor's degree from San Diego State University and his masters from the University of San Diego and served on the university's Board of Trustees in the early 2000s, according to a university spokesperson.
A checkpoint was set up between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Saturday as it was move-in weekend for many San Diego State University students. Shortly after midnight, Cordileone was stopped at checkpoint and failed sobriety test, according to McCullough. His elderly mother was in car with him.
Cordileone was over the legal level of 0.08 blood alcohol content, said McCullough. He was then arrested and given option of official breath or blood test and chose breath and tested more than 0.08 BAC.
His exact BAC is not being released at this time, according to Lt. Gary Hassen.
McCullough said the archbishop-elect was very cooperative and understanding. Cordileone waited politely until he was transported to jail in prisoner van with three of four other people.
Cordileone's mother stood by vehicle during the testing and drove away in her son's car once he was taken to jail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 9 for misdemeanor DUI charges.
In July, Pope Benedict XVI selected Cordileone to replace Archbishop George Niederauer, who is retiring in October.
Cordileone was most recently bishop of Oakland and several years ago was an auxiliary bishop in San Diego.
While serving in San Diego four years ago, Cordileone was instrumental in devising an initiative to strip same-sex couples of the right to wed in California and then raising Catholic dollars to qualify it for the ballot. He also was part of a statewide network of clergy that promoted the measure, known as Proposition 8. Campaign finance records show he personally gave at least $6,000 to back the voter-approved ban.
The archdiocese serves more than 400,000 Catholics in the city and neighboring Marin and San Mateo counties. As archbishop, he will oversee the bishops in Honolulu, Las Vegas, Oakland, Reno, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Santa Rosa and Stockton.
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