A former vice chancellor of the Boston Archdiocese and six other priests accused of molesting children have been defrocked by the Vatican, church officials announced Friday.

In a statement, Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley expressed his "deepest sorrow for the grievous harm" done by Monsignor Frederick Ryan and the other Boston priests.

"The violations of childhood innocence, under the guise of priestly care, are a source of profound shame," O'Malley said.

Ryan was one of the highest-ranking church officials to be accused of child molestation since the Boston sex scandal broke in 2002. He resigned that year after being accused of abusing two boys in the 1970s and '80s at a Boston high school.

The scandal led O'Malley's predecessor, Cardinal Bernard Law, to resign, and the archdiocese agreed to pay $85 million to settle lawsuits by about 550 alleged victims.

A state investigation found that about 1,000 people had been molested by dozens of priests over about five decades. Some of the priests were shuffled from parish to parish to try to conceal the allegations.