No prosecution for priest filmed snorting white powder

Fr Stephen Crossan
Fr Stephen Crossan

A Catholic priest from Gilford who was videoed snorting what appeared to be white powder 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.

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 last week 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 the PPS who directed no prosecution,” said the PSNI.

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, according to the Irish News.

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 mantlepiece.

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 has 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 a leave of absence’ in February.

He said the priest has 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 and previously served in St Peter’s Lurgan and Tullylish.