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MAINE: Episcopal priest snagged in jail drug bust

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The Rev. Stephen Foote charged with supplying painkillers to jailed parishioner

Reverend Stephen Foote, an Episcopal priest, arrested in drug investigation


WISCASSET, MaAn Episcopal priest is out on bail following his arrest earlier this month on charges he allegedly brought prescription painkillers to a parishioner who is incarcerated at the Two Bridges Regional Jail.

The Rev. Stephen Foote, 70, of Bremen was arrested Nov. 1 on a charge of trafficking in prison contraband following a month-long investigation by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and Two Bridges Regional Jail.

Foote's arrest was disclosed Wednesday in a news release issued by Lt. Michael Murphy of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department.

Murphy said Foote is accused of bringing drugs, specifically the painkiller Suboxone, to one of his parishioners,  25-year-old Joshua Theriault-Patten of Bremen. Theriault-Patten and Adam Shawley, 27, of Newport, were charged with attempted trafficking in prison contraband.

The Right Rev. Stephen T. Lane, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, said in a statement Wednesday that he learned about Foote's arrest late in the day on Nov. 1.  Foote has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings, he said. Foote, a longtime priest of the diocese, retired in 2003 as the dean of The Cathedral of St. Luke in Portland, the bishop said.

Foote had been serving as the interim pastor at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Augusta at the time of his arrest, Lane said. The bishop said his office is providing pastoral care and support for the parishioners of St. Mark's.

The bishop said he is saddened by Foote's arrest and asked Maine Episcopalians to "keep all parties in their prayers as we move through these difficult days."

The diocese is cooperating with the criminal investigation, Lane said. Foote's arrest automatically triggers the Episopal Church's disciplinary process for clergy, he said.

Foote was released on bail from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, Murphy said. He is scheduled to appear in Lincoln County Superior Court later this month.

Theriault-Patten and Shawley are Maine Department of Corrections inmates who are being housed at the jail, Murphy said.