HARTFORD, Conn. — Gerald Renner, a veteran religion writer and editor who helped expose child sexual abuse allegations against the founder of a powerful Roman Catholic religious order, has died of cancer. He was 75.

Renner, who retired from The Hartford Courant in 2000, was recognized internationally for his pioneering reporting on allegations of sexual abuse within the Legionaries of Christ, a Roman Catholic religious order whose U.S. headquarters were in Connecticut.

He co-wrote a 2004 book with freelance writer Jason Berry titled, "Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II." The book argued that the pope protected the Legionaries founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado. The Vatican removed Maciel from the active priesthood two years after the book was published.

A Philadelphia native, Renner had earlier worked as a reporter in the U.S. Navy, at a newspaper in Pennsylvania, and for United Press in Washington, D.C. He later became editor and director of Religion News Service in New York, and vice president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews before joining the Courant in 1985.

Renner lived in Norwalk, Conn. He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline, four daughters, a son and 10 grandchildren.