Britain's most senior cardinal, who was forced to resign last week, has admitted to inappropriate sexual conduct.
In a short statement released to The Guardian on Sunday, Keith O'Brien said, “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".
O'Brien, the former archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, did not give any details about the conduct but asked for the forgiveness of the Church and those he had offended.
The former cardinal resigned last week after three priests and one former priest made allegations of “inappropriate” behavior against him, reports The Independent.
O'Brien initially denied the allegations and said he did not want to be distracted from the conclave that will select the new pope after Benedict XVI resigned the papacy on Thursday, reports AP.
O'Brien, 74, has stepped away from any public role in the church and will not be attending the conclave.
“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 allegations were first reported by The Observer newspaper, which reported that priest had claimed he had "inappropriate contact" with O'Brien following a visit to his parish, reports AP.
A second priest reported "unwanted behavior" by O'Brien after some late night drinks and a third claimed he was "taken advantage of" during a counseling session, reported the Observer.