A priest with the Archdiocese of Boston is under fire after allegedly being found with a prostitute in the most unlikely of locations — behind a cemetery. In the wake of media coverage and legal troubles, Monsignor Arthur Coyle, 62, has decided to take a voluntarily leave of absence, according to the archdiocese. He is currently the episcopal vicar for the Merrimack Region, which makes him a relatively high-level, local faith leader.
The priest’s arrest took place on Sunday when he allegedly offered a prostitute money for sex. Coyle purportedly told authorities that he paid $40 for oral sex from 38-year-old Siriwan Kongkaen (a woman who police claim has been arrested repeatedly), but that the act had not been undertaken.
The faith leader was caught after authorities noticed a known prostitute in the passenger seat of his car, the Boston Globe reports. Now, he faces legal ramifications.
While his voluntary leave may have been on his own accord, Coyle had very clear restrictions placed upon him by the archdiocese, the Boston Globe reports.
“While on administrative leave, Msgr. Coyle is prohibited from performing any public ministry,” read a statement from the Catholic Church. “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.”
This also apparently isn’t the first time police saw Coyle frequenting an area where prostitutes generally roam. In November, authorities claim they pulled him over and asked why he was driving in an area that is known for this practice.
Bail was set at $500 and Coyle is slated to head back to court on Sept. 16. He is charged with paying a fee for sexual conduct, the Globe reports.
The Archdiocese of Boston website claims that the priest was ordained in 1977; he was appointed episcopal vicar in 2008 and has been overseeing local dioceses since. The Catholic Church’s press release announcing Coyle’s voluntary administrative leave also calls for prayer for everyone involved with and impacted by the situation.