Northern Ireland priest, Fr Stephen Crossan will not face prosecution after being filmed appearing to snort a white powder
No prosecution for Banbridge priest in ‘snorting cocaine’ video
A CATHOLIC priest videoed snorting what appeared to be cocaine in a room with Nazi memorabilia will not face prosecution.
Fr Stephen Crossan was filmed sniffing a white substance through a £10 note during a night of drinking at his parochial house in Banbridge, Co Down.
The 37-year-old placed a cigarette in an ashtray and seemed to say “I shouldn’t” before snorting the powder off a plate.
Police launched an investigation after the footage, filmed last July following a party, emerged just over two months ago.
A spokesman confirmed on Thursday that a file was passed to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), but said no action is being taken.
“Police conducted an investigation and submitted a file to PPS who directed no prosecution,” the PSNI said.
It is understood the case did not pass the evidential test for prosecution as police found no evidence of Class A drugs when they searched the property beside St Patrick’s Church.
It is believed prosecutors also considered that it remained unclear from the footage whether the white powder was an illicit substance.
The Sun on Sunday, which first published the video, reported that Fr Crossan said: “It was just the one night and that was it. I do not have an issue with drugs.”
The newspaper said a source also told it that when a group went back with the priest to his home they found Nazi memorabilia including flags, hats and an eagle with a swastika on a plinth on his mantelpiece.
Fr Crossan said he was “no Nazi” and collects historical items from every country.
He said he had been on sick leave with depression at the time of the video, and had since left the Church but was being supported by the parish.
In a statement after the footage emerged, Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey said Fr Crossan had taken an “extended leave of absence” in February, 2016.
He said the priest had been granted leave from his pastoral duties at Seapatrick parish since May last year.
Bishop McAreavey said he was concerned for the priest’s health and “will pray for and support him and his family through whatever issues he is facing”.
Fr Crossan, from Tullylish near Gilford, was appointed to Seapatrick as curate in 2012 and previously served in St Peter’s, Lurgan, and Tullylish.
Roman Catholic priest filmed snorting cocaine on church grounds
February 29, 2016
Father Crossan, who lives on the grounds of St Patrick’s Church in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, denied being a Nazi and said the memorabilia was there because he collects ‘historical stuff’.
He said he had depression and was on sick leave when the footage was taken. Father Crossan said he had left the church but was being backed by the parish, while a spokesman for his bishop said the priest would be supported through his issues.
Father Crossan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College Maynooth, and completed a degree in theology in 2007.
During his years at Maynooth, he was involved in various pastoral activities including prison and hospital chaplaincy, according to a parish website.
He was appointed to Seapatrick parish as Curate in 2012 and before this served as Curate in St Peter’s parish, Lurgan and the parish of Tullylish.