Two priests in the Bridgeport diocese publicly apologized this weekend for keeping secret the location of a fellow priest accused of molesting more than two dozen youths, The Hartford Courant reported Monday.

The Revs. David Howell and Gerald Devore, who had been temporarily stripped of their duties, read prepared statements at their churches during weekend Masses, apologizing to Bridgeport Bishop William Lori, their colleagues and parish members.

Devore also announced that he was resigning from St. Maurice Parish in Stamford. He asked the bishop for some time off and planned to request a transfer to another parish in the future.

Lori disciplined the two priests for failing to disclose the location of the Rev. Laurence Brett. Howell and Devore had been in contact with Brett, who vanished in 1993 and was found by the Courant this summer on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. Brett has disappeared again, the newspaper reported.

In their statements, both priests said their dealings with Brett were “solely conversational” and promised him “no benefit of any kind.”

“I am guilty of keeping the whereabouts of a sexual offender to myself,” Devore told congregants at St. Maurice. “With such behavior, I could have enabled a sexual offender to harm others.”

He said it was his own decision to leave the parish. Devore, 65, has been pastor of St. Maurice since 1985.

Devore and Howell, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Norwalk, recently completed a period of penance imposed by Lori in August. Howell resumed his full duties as priest at St. Joseph this weekend.

–Associated Press