NEW YORK, JULY 11 -- Sister Mary Rose McGeady, associate director of Catholic Charities in the Brooklyn diocese, has been named new president and chief executive director of Covenant House, nearly five months after its founder resigned amid charges of sexual and financial impropriety.

Sister Mary Rose, 62, is to take over the troubled shelter system for runaway youths Sept. 1.

The church-affiliated organization had been seeking a member of the Roman Catholic clergy to replace the Rev. Bruce Ritter, a Franciscan priest.

Covenant House, founded by Ritter in 1968, became became the nation's largest shelter program for young runaways, housing 25,000 youths annually in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

As a supervisor of Catholic Charities' activities, Sister Mary Rose was responsible for a staff of 800 people and an annual budget of nearly $40 million, according to Ralph Pfeiffer Jr. chairman of Covenant House's board of directors.

Ritter, who resigned Feb. 27, has been accused of having sexual relations with shelter residents and lending Covenant House funds to two former board members. He has denied wrongdoing.

Anticipating a continuing decrease in donations that sustain the organization, the board has laid off 111 of 420 employees and cut the annual budget from $86 million to $72 million.