A Cardinal has admitted to sexual abuse and apologized for his actions. Cardinal Keith O’Brien on Sunday issued a statement in which he said his conduct has “fallen beneath the standards expected of me.”
O’Brien apologized to the people he has “offended” and then apologized to the people of Scotland and the Catholic Church.
The statement follows the Cardinals Monday announcement that he would resign. Cardinal O’Brien resigned after three priests and a former priest made allegations towards his inappropriate actions.
Before resigning, Cardinal O’Brien was Britain’s senior most member of the Roman Catholic cleric, serving as the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.
In his statement released by the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, O’Brien writes:
“In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public. Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them. However, I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal. To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness. To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologize. I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.”
The priests who accused Cardinal O’Brien say the misconduct began in the 1980s. The priests have described their encounters with Keith O’Brien as “unwanted behavior” and “inappropriate contact.” In several cases, alcohol was used as part of the Cardinal’s advances according to his accusers.
In one case, a priest claims the Cardinal used late night prayer sessions as a means to initiate inappropriate contact.
While the Cardinal admits to sexual abuse of some sort, he has stopped short of calling his actions abusive, and his accusers have yet to issue further information about their time spent with Cardinal Keith O’Brien.