Idaho bishop 'stunned' after arrest of priest for child porn, drugs

Idaho bishop ‘stunned’ after arrest of priest for child porn, drugs

Idaho bishop ‘stunned’ after arrest of priest for child porn, drugs

Father W. Thomas Faucher. (Credit: St. Mary's Parish.)

Bishop Peter F. Christensen said he was “absolutely stunned” by the news of the arrest of Father W. Thomas Faucher on child pornography and drug charges.

Bishop Peter F. Christensen said he was “absolutely stunned” by the news of the arrest of Father W. Thomas Faucher on child pornography and drug charges.

Faucher, 72, was arrested Friday and charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children and two counts of distributing sexually exploitative material involving minors. He was also charged with drug possession.

Prosecutors said the retired priest had hundreds of child pornography images as well as marijuana, LSD and ecstasy in his home.

RELATED: Prosecutors say drugs, child porn found in Boise priest’s home

The Boise bishop said the diocese had never received any complaints regarding Faucher, and if it had, it would have immediately contacted law enforcement officials.

“If these allegations are true and proven in court, they are a betrayal of the trust we place in all ministers such as Father Faucher. Anyone who takes advantage of and exploits children for their own gratification is absolutely wrong. There are no excuses for such behavior by any one of our clergy,” Christensen said on Feb. 6.

The director of the office of communications for the diocese, Gene Fadness, attends St. Mary’s parish, where Faucher had served as a pastor.

He told the Idaho Statesman about the reaction from the parish to the news of the arrest.

“(They were) stunned, deeply saddened, shocked, (and) sad for not only children who are exploited like this, but sad for the many faithful priests, deacons, religious sisters, lay people who every day, without fanfare, do the work of the church — the way this kind of reflects on them,” Fadness said.

Faucher posted bond and was released from jail on Tuesday; the judge has forbidden him from having contact with children or using a computer while the case continues.

The diocese issued a statement on Feb. 7 clarifying that it was not paying for Faucher’s legal defense, nor contributing toward a bond for his release.

The diocese also denied previous press reports that it was paying for Faucher’s rental property.

The bishop called for prayers that the truth be revealed and that any children who are exploited may be healed “by the grace of God.”

Christensen also called for prayer for “an end to such a disgusting evil.”

 

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