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Florida Bishop Resigns After Admitting Sexual Abuse

Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell of the diocese of Palm Beach, FL, submitted his resignation to Pope John Paul II yesterday, making him the highest-ranking church official to resign, amidst the discoveries in recent months of pedophilia and sexual abuse involving the Catholic Church. O’Connell admitted last week that he sexually abused a teenage seminary student in the 1970’s. The student had come to the clergyman for counseling after having been sexually abused by two other priests. O’Connell came to the Florida diocese in 1999 to replace former bishop J. Keith Symons, who had resigned that year for sexually abusing boys. O’Connell’s resignation was accepted by the Pope.

Sources:

LA Times, 3/14/02; Washington Post, 3/9/02