VATICAN CITY (AP) _ The pope on Tuesday appointed the bishop of Las Vegas to take over a California diocese shaken by a scandal involving alleged sexual and financial wrongdoing by its former bishop.

Bishop Daniel F. Walsh was transferred from Las Vegas to Santa Rosa, succeeding Bishop G. Patrick Ziemann, who was forced to resign in July.

The appointment followed an apology by Ziemann in a letter read in Santa Rosa churches last weekend.

``I acknowledge with deep regret my responsibility for the current state of affairs about which you are justly angry,'' Ziemann said in his first public comment since he resigned.

After a priest filed a lawsuit claiming Ziemann had coerced him into sex, the bishop admitted to consensual sex with the priest and resigned.

Interim administrators also discovered that Ziemann had misappropriated $16 million entrusted to the diocese by local churches and schools.

Walsh, 62, a San Francisco native, has headed the Las Vegas diocese since its creation five years ago.

No immediate successor in Las Vegas was announced.