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Irish priest granted leave of absence after tabloid photo showed him using cocaine

March 01, 2016

An Irish priest has been granted a leave of absence from ministry after a newspaper published a photo that showed him snorting cocaine.

Father Stephen Crossan admitted that the photo in the tabloid The Sun on Sunday was genuine, but said he did not have a drug habit. “It was just the one night and that was it,” he said. Father Crossan had been on medical leave, reportedly being treated for depression, in July 2015 when the photo was taken.

Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore said that Father Crossan had asked for permission to take “an extended leave of absence from the priesthood.” The bishop—who said that he had been unaware of the cocaine incident—said that he had granted the request, and is now “concerned for the health of Stephen Crossan and will pray for and support him and his family through whatever issues he is facing at the moment.”


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