Saturday May 26, 2012

FALMOUTH, Mass. (AP) -- A Cape Cod priest who pleaded no contest seven years ago to embezzling $135,000 from his former parish has been placed on leave after a child sex abuse allegation.

The Boston Archdiocese said Friday that it's removed The Rev. Joseph Byrne from public ministry pending an investigation. The archdiocese said the retired priest had "limited ministry" at St. Patrick's Church in Falmouth.

The archdiocese said the new allegation against Byrne dates to the early 1970s, but was just recently reported.

In June 2005, Byrne was sentenced to five years probation after pleading no contest to embezzling $135,000 from Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted parish in Waltham. Prosecutors said between 1997 and 2000, Byrne transferred parish funds to his bank account and made purchases from accounts containing parish money.

Attempts Friday to reach Byrne weren't successful.


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