MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota bishop says he was trying to protect the confidentiality of a man who said he was sexually abused by a popular priest when he certified to other church officials that the priest was fit to work with children.

Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Diocese of Crookston is the subject of a Vatican-ordered investigation into whether he interfered with sexual abuse investigations.

Hoeppner acknowledged in a videotaped deposition released Tuesday that he told the Archdiocese of St. Paul in 2012 that the priest was “of good moral character and reputation,” and that he was unaware of anything that would “render him unsuitable” to work with children.

Pressed by attorney Jeffrey Anderson on why he made that assertion, knowing the allegations, the bishop said he was respecting the accuser’s confidentiality.

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