Lowell priest accused of soliciting sex

LOWELL, Mass. (WHDH) — Monsignor Arthur Coyle of Lowell was arrested for allegedly paying for sex with a prostitute.

A Lowell police officer said on Sunday evening while conducting surveillance in a local neighborhood for drug and prostitution activity, he spotted the 62-year-old Monsignor in his car with a “self admitted prostitute and drug addict.” The officer said he followed them to the back of the Police Cemetery in Lowell. It is a place to be known where prostitutes bring customers.

The officer said he arrested Coyle after the woman he was with admitted he paid her for sex they were about to have. But in the police report the officer said “detectives have observed Arthur Coyle…well over a dozen different times driving around” the same areas. The officer said he’s “observed him stop and slow down every time he sees a single female or a known prostitute walking.”

Coyle lives at the Rectory at St. Rita’s Church in Lowell. He is an Episcopal Vicar of the Boston Archdiocese and he oversees 47 parishes in the Merrimac area.

On Monday the Archdiocese of Boston released a statement that read, “Rev. Monsignor Arthur M. Coyle has taken a voluntary administrative leave from his assignment, as a result of his arrest on charges related to sexual misconduct involving an adult. While on administrative leave, Msgr. Coyle is prohibited from performing any public ministry. The archdiocese asks for prayers for all impacted by this matter.”

Parishioners in the area were stunned and saddened.

“I’m clearly disappointed. I still believe in the Catholic religion and it’s not going to ruin my beliefs. Just one person is not going to ruin what my beliefs are,” said parishioner, Karen Lachance.

The archdiocese says the Monsignor will remain off the job pending the outcome of the case. He was released on $500 cash bail.