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N.C. Priest Indicted on Sex Charge

August 6, 2002

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SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) _ A Roman Catholic priest was indicted on a felony charge of indecency with a boy in the mid-1980s, an allegation a diocese said it had earlier deemed not credible.

The Rev. Richard Farwell, who now lives in Florida, was expected to surrender by Wednesday, Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly said Tuesday.

Prosecutors said the incident occurred between July 1983 and May 1985, when Farwell was an assistant pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury. The victim was 12 to 14 years old during that time, prosecutors said.

Kenerly said Farwell was being represented by attorney David Bingham, who did not return a call Tuesday.

``Father Farwell intends to respond. As in the past, the diocese will cooperate with appropriate authorities,″ the Rev. Mauricio West, vicar general of the Charlotte Diocese, said in a statement.

The allegations arose in 1999. A year later, Charlotte Bishop William Curlin wrote a reference letter for Farwell to Food For The Poor, a charity in Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Curlin said he gave the reference because the diocese had determined that the allegation against Farwell was not credible.

Farwell, who is still attached to the Charlotte diocese, was placed on administrative leave in April, after the diocese received a letter from the victim’s family reiterating the 1999 accusation. Soon afterward, he was fired from Food For The Poor.

Farwell could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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