Authorities in Florida say a priest was arrested on suspicion of drugging and raping a parishioner.
According to the Miami Herald, Father Jean Claude Jean-Philippe was the parochial vicar at the Homestead church and was even the priest at the victim’s wedding, police say.
The 64-year-old allegedly invited the woman to his residence at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in October and gave her a cup of tea that caused her to lose consciousness. She reportedly told police that her next memory was about two hours later when she found herself naked in Jean-Philippe’s bed.
Records indicate she told investigators that the priest was “standing over her bed in his white underwear and no shirt,” adding that he denied raping her. She reportedly recalled smelling bodily fluids at the time.
After complaining to church leaders, they reportedly urged her to file a criminal complaint.
Police arrested the suspect on Friday evening and he remained behind bars at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center as of the latest updates available.
Upon questioning, a police report shows Jean-Philippe admitted that he “massaged the victim in the nude with oil” before sexually assaulting her.
A statement from the church indicated he has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
“Effective immediately, Archbishop Thomas Wenski has removed Fr. Jean-Philippe from Sacred Heart Catholic Church, placing him on administrative leave,” the Archdiocese of Miami explained in a statement, adding that it “continues to fully cooperate with law enforcement as this allegation against Father Jean-Philippe continues to be investigated.”
[Featured image: Jean Claude Jean-Philippe, Miami Dade Corrections]