Priest takes leave after disclosing he once worshipped at Klan's cross

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — A Virginia priest is taking a leave of absence after disclosing he once was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Father William Aitcheson, a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington, wrote about his past Klan affiliation Monday in The Arlington Catholic Herald, the diocese’s newspaper.

The 62-year-old Aitcheson said that 40 years have passed since he was in the Klan.

He apologized for his participation and said the images from this month’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville reminded him of a period in his life he’d prefer to forget.

In a statement, Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge called Aitcheson’s past with the Klan troubling, but said he hopes his story will help others turn away from hate.

Aitcheson had been serving at St. Leo the Great in Fairfax.

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