A Roman Catholic Priest who sued his own diocese for alleged abuse by another priest has left the priesthood.

John Nesbella cited criticism from other clergy over his decision to highlight the issue of gay priests with his court case, as the reason behind his decision to leave. The move brings to an end a career in the church that has spanned 25 years.

Last year Mr Nesbella sued the Altoona-Johnstown diocese, alleging that as a 16 year old, he was molested by his teacher, the Reverend Martin Brady. Because Brady had died in 2003, the court were unable to come to a firm decision about what had occurred.

The case caused much controversy in the diocese, reflecting the wider problems of the Catholic Church, which is struggling to come to terms with alleged abuse cases being brought against it all over the world.

Mr Nesbella said that the criticism that he had received for opening a can of worms was extreme and untenable. Speaking about his resignation to a local paper, he said: “this is the end of a sad tale of how wicked so-called Catholic priests and bishops drove me and a few other priests out because we dared to speak up about the corrupt brotherhood of homosexuals in the priesthood.”

Adding to the confusion of the two separate issues facing the church, one, of homosexuality in the priesthood and the other, concerning the abuse of minors, Mr Nesbella said he may try to join an Eastern rite church, which he hoped would be more conservative about allowing gay men to serve, than the Roman Catholic Church.