A Roman Catholic priest assigned to the University of Illinois has been charged with using and distributing cocaine.
The Rev. Christopher Layden, 33, was arraigned Thursday, the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette reported. He appeared in court by video link from the jail, pleading not guilty to the charges.
Layden was released on bail within two hours.
University of Illinois investigators searched Layden's office at the Newman Center and his room in a rectory Wednesday and arrested him after finding cocaine, prosecutors said.
The investigation began when an informant who had been arrested in May on a drug charge said he had used cocaine with Layden many times since 2007.
Under Illinois law, Layden faces enhanced penalties because he allegedly committed drug crimes within 1,000 feet of a church.
Layden was ordained in the diocese of Peoria after studying in Rome. His lawyer said Layden and Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, had occasionally gone for walks together around Rome.Short URL:
Distribution Of Cocaine: University Priest Charged, Faces Jail
Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 17:06:28 EDT in Drugs