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Africa

Irish bishop resigns in Nigeria sex scandal

media Pope Benedict XVI Reuters

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of an Irish archbishop who was accused of molesting a teenage girl in Benin City in Nigeria. A Nigerian woman accused Richard Burke of molesting her when she was 14. He denies child abuse, but says the two had a relationship that caused him to breach his vow of celibacy

The archbishop started the relationship with the 20-year-old woman when she was as young as 14 years old, news that is certainly going to shake the Catholic faithful in Nigeria.

This is because sex scandals, child molestation and inappropriate relationships involving priests are not too common in the country.

Archbishop Richard Anthony Burke, 61, was investigated by the Catholic Church in Benin, which passed on its findings to Saint Patrick Missionary Society in Ireland, to which he belongs.

Investigations show he had the relationship with the lady.

The Archbishop has apologised in a Catholic newspaper in Ireland, stating his "deepest sorrow for his inappropriate, irresponsible and repeatedly sinful conducts".

Burke served at various times in Warri in Delta state and Benin in Edo state in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria.

He was even involved in several negotiations between rebels and government officials when foreigners were kidnapped in the Niger Delta area. The Catholic Church in Nigeria is yet to comment publicly on this matter.

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