LONDON -- A popular Catholic priest returned a prestigious award to Queen Elizabeth II after he admitted sexually abusing boys at a school in Africa more than 40 years ago.
Father Christopher "Kit" Cunningham sent back his Member of the British Empire medal to Buckingham Palace in July 2010.
He received the award from the queen during a ceremony at the palace in 1998, dressed in a top hat and tails, for his work with homeless people.
The priest, who died Dec. 12 at age 79, offered no explanation to the palace for returning the medal and asked only that there would be no publicity.
But the reason for his action was disclosed June 21 in a British Broadcasting Corp. documentary titled "Abused: Breaking the Silence."
The film revealed Father Cunningham to be one of four Rosminian priests accused of abusing boys of British families who were attending St. Michael's School in Soni, Tanzania, in the 1960s.