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British archbishop resigns amid misconduct allegations

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British archbishop resigns amid misconduct allegations

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, has stepped down as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church following allegations of inappropriate behavior towards priests from the 1980s onwards.

O'Brien had denied all allegations of inappropriate behavior, which were sent to Rome a week before Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation, Agence France-Presse reported.

Though O'Brien had already tendered his resignation — to take effect next month — before the allegations, Pope Benedict has now accepted his immediate resignation as Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, which takes effect Monday.

BBC News reported that the pontiff will appoint an apostolic administrator to take over the archdiocese until a successor is appointed.

According to AFP, O'Brien would have been Britain's only cardinal to vote on a succesor for Pope Benedict. O'Brien's resignation statement reportedly confirmed that he would not be taking part in the conclave.

According to the Associated Press, Pope Benedict changed the rules of the conclave that will elect his successor, one of his final acts as pope. According to the new law, the cardinals may move up the start date of the conclave if they are all arrive in Rome before the 15-day transition period. 

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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