AIKEN, South Carolina— A Catholic priest in South Carolina won’t face criminal charges for exchanging sexual photos with a minor on social media.
Aiken County Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Abdullah said the minor listed himself as 18 years old when he exchanged explicit photos on the Grindr dating app with 33-year-old Father Raymond Flores.
Abdullah said deputies consulted prosecutors and they agreed no crime was committed because the juvenile said he was an adult.
Abdullah said in a statement that Flores, the juvenile and his family and the Diocese of Charleston all cooperated.
Abdullah says the juvenile’s family agreed with the decision.
The diocese says Flores is on leave from his duties at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, a statement on the parish’s website confirmed that while serving in the Diocese of Brooklyn, Flores had “an inappropriate consensual relationship with an adult woman, which was a violation of his promise of celibacy,” and that the priest “had attended counseling and that, after an extended period of prayerful discernment, he had recommitted himself to his vow of celibacy.”
“There has never been any allegation against Father Flores related to sexual abuse of a minor, and he would never have been accepted in this Diocese for ministry had there been any such allegation,” said the statement, signed by Father Gregory Wilson, the pastor of St. Mary’s.
“Although Father Raymond’s past behavior was clearly inappropriate for a priest, albeit not unlawful, it is now an internal personnel matter. I hope and pray that you will respect the privacy of and be in prayer for all involved in the incident, as well as for me and our entire parish and school community,” the statement concluded.
Crux staff contributed to this report.
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