(RNS) — It was not images from the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that spurred a Virginia priest to come forward this month and confess he was a Ku Klux Klan member charged in several cross-burnings in Maryland and other offenses 40 years ago.

Rather, it was a journalist who had contacted the Diocese of Arlington and said she learned that the Rev. William Aitcheson’s legal name matched that of a man arrested in the 1970s.

Diocesan officials then confronted the priest.

“Aitcheson was approached about this, he acknowledged his past and saw the opportunity to tell his story in the

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