Cardinal at center of Ireland's clergy abuse scandals dies

Cardinal Desmond Connell, whose tenure as Dublin's Roman Catholic archbishop was dominated by revelations of pedophilia in the priesthood, has died at the age of 90.

The Dublin Archdiocese said Connell died Tuesday in his sleep after a long illness. He oversaw the archdiocese from 1988 to 2004 and was elevated to cardinal in 2001.

Connell, who spent 35 years as a University College Dublin theologian before his appointment, said in 2002 that the child abuse scandals then sweeping through the Catholic Church in Ireland had devastated his time in office.

State-funded investigations of the church's efforts to conceal child abuse within its ranks found that Connell typically shielded priests from possible criminal investigations and faulted him for trying to keep the archdiocese's own records on abuse cases secret.