The pastor of St. Aloysius church in Springfield, Illinois has been placed on a leave of absence after he called 911 from the church and told a dispatcher that he needed help getting out of a pair of handcuffs he was “playing” with. When police arrived to help him, they found him also wearing some sort of a gag, according to sources cited by the Illinois Times.
“I’m going to need help getting out before this becomes a medical emergency,” Father Tom Donovan told a dispatcher on Nov. 28. The audio of the call has since been released.
“You’re stuck in a pair of handcuffs?” the dispatcher asks.
“Playing with them and I need help getting out,” Donovan replies.
Listen to the bizarre call below:
More from the Illinois Times:
Donovan told the dispatcher that he was alone in the rectory. It’s not clear exactly how he ended up in handcuffs or why he feared a medical emergency. His voice sounds garbled or muffled on the tape, and sources say that police discovered some sort of gag on the priest when they arrived.
The diocese has been tight-lipped about the matter, saying only that Bishop Thomas Paprocki granted Donovan’s request for a leave of absence at some point before Christmas. The diocese knows about the incident, given that Brad Huff, an attorney for the diocese, has been given a copy of the 911 tape by the Sangamon County Emergency Telephone System Department. Kathie Sass, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Springfield, said that the diocese also has a copy of a police report on the matter.
Donovan’s whereabouts are unknown and church officials are not disclosing much information out of respect for his privacy.
“I wouldn’t be able to tell you where Father Donovan is,” Sass said. “There’s a matter of privacy there.”
However, Bishop Paprocki looked over the police report after speaking with Donovan, and the report matched up with what the priest told the bishop, according to Sass.