A local archdiocese in Delaware County has confirmed that a priest who has been under investigation since last year has been arrested for alleged drug-related crimes. Pennsylvania police have charged the elderly monsignor with two misdemeanor drug charges as well as a felony theft charge. So far, a court date has not been announced for the veteran spiritual leader. 

According to reports released to the public, the priest took a leave of absence in spring 2017 for what is believed to be health-related problems. Shortly thereafter, in May 2017, employees at the parish opened a package addressed to the parish and attached to the name of the absent priest, believing it to contain illegal drugs. It is not clear why parish staff held this belief. Police secured a search warrant for the parish after staff contacted law enforcement. 

What police found in the package was not included in the report, but it was enough to launch a months-long investigation regarding the priest. This investigation allegedly revealed that the priest had removed some $5,000 from parish funds for unknown use. On Jan. 25, 2018, the priest was officially arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession or use and felony theft by unlawful taking. If convicted, the priest could face jail time. 

However, it will be up to Pennsylvania prosecutors to provide evidence that the priest knowingly took church funds for his own use and that he received illegal drugs in the mail. This is why drug charges are often difficult to prove, because it will require a thorough investigation into where the package came from and the circumstances surrounding its delivery. In the meantime, his defense team will work to build a strong case on his behalf by conducting an independent review of the facts of the case, including any evidence brought forth for consideration by the prosecution. 

Source: CBS Philadelphia, “Archdiocese: Delaware County Priest Arrested On Drug Charges“, Jan. 25, 2018