Palmerston North bishop Charles Drennan resigns after 'unacceptable' behaviour

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Palmerston North's bishop has resigned after an investigation found he acted inappropriately towards a young woman.

Pope Francis has accepted Bishop Charles Drennan's resignation after an investigation into the woman's complaint of unacceptable behaviour of a sexual nature by the bishop.

The Catholic Church's independent investigation body, the National Office of Professional Standards (NOPS), contracted an independent investigator to look into the complaint. Both the bishop and the complainant participated in the investigation.

"The young woman has requested that details of the complaint remain private," Metropolitan Archbishop of New Zealand Cardinal John Dew said in a statement. 

"It can be confirmed that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation. In the eyes of the Catholic Church, Bishop Drennan's behaviour was completely unacceptable, and it fully supports the young woman for coming forward to NOPS."

The Palmerston North diocese has been informed of Drennan's resignation and support is being provided to parishioners.

"The Catholic Church has no tolerance for any inappropriate behaviour by any of its members," Cardinal Dew said.

"I encourage anyone who experiences such behaviour to bring it to the attention of the Church, police or any organisation with which they feel comfortable."