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Priest Pleads Guilty to Setting Fire at His Church

August 6, 1996

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ A Roman Catholic priest has admitted setting a fire that caused $30,000 worth of damage to his church.

The Rev. Fred Sauer waived indictment and pleaded guilty Monday to violating the federal arson statute by setting the fire June 29 behind the altar at the Church of Nativity in Bartlett, a Memphis suburb.

No sentencing date was set.

``This information creates a deep sense of sadness and grief for us as a parish and as a diocese,″ Robert Ponticello, chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis, said in a statement Tuesday.