Former Catholic priest faces drug charge

Jan. 19, 2013 at 9:59 PM

BRIDGEPORT, Conn., Jan. 19 (UPI) -- A Catholic priest now facing federal drug charges in Connecticut had resigned last year amidst allegations of sexual misconduct, officials say.

The (Bridgeport) Connecticut Post reported Thursday Monsignor Kevin Wallin, 61, had been running an adult store called Land of Oz in North Haven since he was relieved of his priestly duties. Federal investigators say he used the store to launder profits from the sale of methamphetamine.

He was arrested Jan. 3 on charges of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and was being held without bail. An indictment affidavit says an undercover investigator bought meth from him and once saw a gallon container of the drug in his apartment in Waterbury, Conn.

After he was ordained in 1984, Wallin spent 12 years in Bridgeport and then moved to the Church of St. Peter in Danbury, Conn. He returned to St. Augustine's Cathedral in Bridgeport in 2002.

The arrest has shocked many who knew him.

"I can't fathom it," said Therese Ruppert, a parishioner at the Church of St. Peter. "He was so spiritual. His sermons were wonderful. He had such knowledge of theology."

Brian Wallace, a spokesman for the diocese of Bridgeport, said parishioners reported problematic behavior in 2011. Wallin resigned that summer, although he continued to receive a church stipend until he was arrested.

Sources said he was reported to engage in cross-dressing and to have had sexual encounters in St. Augustine's rectory.

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