(JTA) — A Catholic priest was caught on video snorting what appears to be cocaine in a room with Nazi memorabilia.
The video of Father Stephen Crossan, 37, was taken at what was then his parish home in Northern Ireland after a “two-day bender” in July 2015, the Sun on Sunday reported.
Crossan told the newspaper that he is not a Nazi and he collected historical items from around the world. He confirmed that he was using drugs in the video but said, “It was just the one night and that was it. I do not have an issue with drugs.”
The local bishop of Dromore said in a statement that he had no knowledge of the incident, according to the BBC.
A source told the Sun on Sunday he was part of a group that had gone back to Crossan’s home on the grounds of St Patrick’s Church in the town of Banbridge that day after being asked to leave another house party. The party-goers were surprised to see Nazi memorabilia, including flags, hats and a Maltese falcon statue on the mantle, the source said.
Crossan told the newspaper he had been on sick leave with depression at the time and had since left the church but was being supported by the parish.
In his statement, the bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey, said Crossan had been granted leave from his pastoral duties in May 2015. He said the priest had been receiving counseling and was considering his future.
At the start of February 2016, McAreavey said, Crossan had asked for an extended leave of absence from the priesthood. The bishop said he was concerned for Crossan’s health.