Newman Center priest posts bond on cocaine charges

Newman Hall Aaron Facemire

Newman Hall Aaron Facemire

By Daily Illini Staff Report

A St. John’s Catholic priest was sent to the Champaign County Jail Wednesday night after three grams of powdered cocaine were found during a warranted search of the Newman Center and rectory, 604 E. Armory.

Rev. Christopher Layden, 33, was arrested Wednesday night by the University Police.

He has been charged with two counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a church, according to the State’s Attorney’s office.

A spokeswoman for the State’s Attorney’s office said that Layden pleaded innocent to all three counts Thursday afternoon.

Layden posted $5,000 bond Thursday and is no longer in custody of the Champaign County correctional system, an official said. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 21.

The Diocese of Peoria said in a release that Layden has been suspended from all pastoral ministry duties. The Diocese also said the Newman Center did not suspect him of having a drug use problem prior to this incident.

University Police Investigation Lt. Roy Acree said Layden’s arrest was part of an ongoing investigation.

Keep checking for updates on this story.