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A high-ranking priest with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is facing a prostitution charge.
Authorities say the Rev. Arthur Coyle was granted $500 bail after pleading not guilty Monday in Lowell to a count of sexual conduct for a fee.
Coyle is the Episcopal Vicar for the Merrimack Region, meaning he oversees several parishes in the area. He lives at the rectory of St. Rita's parish in Lowell.
Police say the 62-year-old Coyle was arrested just after 5 p.m. Sunday after he was allegedly found with a prostitute behind a cemetery in Lowell.
On Monday afternoon, the archdiocese said in a statement that Coyle has taken a voluntary administrative leave, as a result of his arrest.
Coyle was ordained in 1977 and has been vicar since 2008.
-- Here's the archdiocese's full statement:
The Archdiocese of Boston today announced that Rev. Monsignor Arthur M. Coyle has taken a voluntary administrative leave from his assignment, as a result of his arrest on charges related to sexual misconduct involving an adult. Msgr. Coyle has been serving as Episcopal Vicar of the Merrimack Region for the Archdiocese since 2008.
While on administrative leave, Msgr. Coyle is prohibited from performing any public ministry. These restrictions will remain in place pending the outcome of the case. The steps taken today do not represent a determination of Msgr. Coyle’s guilt or innocence as it pertains to these charges.
The Archdiocese asks for prayers for all impacted by this matter.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom
This program aired on August 5, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.
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