Illinois Priest Accused of Selling Cocaine

Police arrest reverend after searching his office and residence, which are both on university property.

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A University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign priest is accused of selling cocaine from his campus church, the Daily Illini reports. Campus police arrested the Rev. Christopher Layden, 33, saying they found 3 grams of cocaine and drug paraphernalia in a search of the priest's office and residence, both on university property.

The priest has pled not guilty to two counts of delivery of less than 1 gram of cocaine and one count of possession with intent to deliver 1 to 15 grams of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a church; according to Illinois law, the proximity to the church makes the charges more serious.

Police searched Layden's quarters after an informant told authorities he had used cocaine "40 to 50 times" with the priest in the past seven months, the News-Gazette reports. "The informant told police that he and Layden snorted lines of cocaine off a framed picture of Layden posing with a Catholic bishop."

The Diocese of Peoria has suspended Layden, who posted $5,000 bond Thursday.