The Bishop of Covington sent a letter of apology to the students and their parents that were condemned wrongly over accusations of racist behavior stemming from a video of an altercation between them and a Native American veteran activist.
Previously, Bishop Foys had condemned the boys after only seeing part of the altercation in one video that was widely disseminated by those critical of the president.
The letter explained how they mistakenly made the statement after so much public pressure.
"Within hours we were being pressured from all sides to make a statement regarding a video clip which purportedly showed students from Covington Catholic High School being disrespectful to Native American Elder Nathan Phillips," the letter explained.
"Based on what the video clip showed we condemned the actions of students who engaged in the alleged disrespect and promised to investigate the matter," it continued.
"Since that time other video clips," Foys added, "some of much longer duration — have surfaced. Once these went viral some of the very same people who put tremendous pressure on us to condemn the actions of the students now wanted a retraction from anyone who had previously issued a statement critical of them. All this was based again on a video."
The letter goes on to explain that the students and their parents have received death threats, and their offices also received a bomb threat.
"We are sorry that this situation has caused such disruption in the lives of so many," Foys said. "We apologize to anyone who has been offended in any way by either of our statements which were made with good will based on the information we had."
"We should not have allowed ourselves to be bullied and pressured into making a statement prematurely, and we take full responsibility for it," he added.
'I especially apologize to Nicholas Sandmann'
The statement singled out one of the students who had been videotaped smiling at Phillips for several minutes while he beat his drum at the boys. He was especially excoriated in the media for what they perceived as a menacing "smirk" on his face.
"I especially apologize to Nicholas Sandmann and his family as well as to all CovCath families who have felt abandoned during this ordeal," Foys said. "Nicholas unfortunately has become the face of these allegations based on video clips. This is not fair. It is not just."
The letter concluded with a call for people to end the "venom and hate" and instead pray to God for guidance.