Catherine Deveney, the Observer journalist who broke the Cardinal Keith O'Brien sexual impropriety story, told the BBC on Sunday that one priest involved told her that O'Brien's anti-gay rhetoric compelled him to come forward.

On Sunday, a week after the story broke and O'Brien announced his resignation as archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, O'Brien issued a statement in which he admitted to allegations he had previously denied.

“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,” the 74-year-old O'Brien said.

Deveney reported that three priests and a former priest had complained to the Vatican about “inappropriate acts.” The conduct could date back to the 1980s.

“This is a sad situation,” Deveney said on the BBC. “But I have to point out that the cardinal has been such a very vociferous critic of homosexuals, of gay adoption, he's been a very outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage.”

“And one of the priests involved, one of the complainants involved, said to me tonight after he had resigned that he felt very sad for the cardinal but he also felt very sad for the people over the years that the cardinal had harmed. The young people who had struggled with their homosexuality and were told by the cardinal that they were degenerate, when clearly that was not what the cardinal really felt.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

O'Brien also stated that he would “play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.”