Cardinal Keith O'Brien 'blocked sexual abuse audit'

Disgraced Cardinal Keith O'Brien blocked an independent inquiry into cases of historic sexual abuse a year before resigning over his own inappropriate sexual conduct, according to the Roman Catholic Church.

The Bishops' Conference of Scotland commissioned a report into allegations of abuse in 2011, but it was halted the following year when Cardinal O'Brien, the then-president of the conference, withdrew his support.

File photo of Cardinal Keith O'Brien. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

He stepped down as Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh in February after three priests and a former priest made allegations of inappropriate behaviour against him.

Cardinal O'Brien issued an apology at the time, saying, ''There have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me''.