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Local Priest Arrested For Possession Of Crack Cocaine

01/24/2007

Local Priest Arrested For Possession Of Crack Cocaine

Story by Lynn Giroud

A Cincinnati priest is facing charges after he's arrested for possession of crack cocaine.

Covington police made the arrest last night and earlier this evening, the former pastor posted bond and was released from the Kenton County jail.

His name is Father Thomas Gaeke. He's 58-years-old and has been on medical leave from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for the past six years.

His medical condition: severe diabetes. But the drug police say they found him with last night wasn't prescribed by a doctor -- it was crack cocaine.

Gaeke posted a $2,500 bond Tuesday night and walked away from the Kenton County jail.

The Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force arrested Gaeke yesterday just before 11 a.m. in the Hampton Inn parking lot in Covington.

Police say they pulled over his rented car and found him with a crack pipe and a small amount of crack cocaine.

"He's a wonderful person, wonderful priest, very kind," said Sally Keyes, a St. Mary's parishioner. "I'm very surprised, I never would've dreamed it in a million years."

Father Gaeke was pastor of St. Mary and Holy Family churches in east Dayton, Ohio, before he was placed on medical leave in the year 2000.
9News' ABC affiliate, WDTN-TV in Dayton, talked to surprised parishioners there Tuesday night who support Gaeke.

They say his diabetes was so bad when he left that he couldn't even stand at the altar anymore.

"The only thing I can say he's in pain and his medical problems are probably more difficult than I could imagine," said Patti Dixon, a St. Mary's parishioner.

"If crack cocaine or drugs were involved, I think it's something medical, more than anything else," said Dixon.

Father Gaeke told police he was visiting friends in Covington.
He gave police a Tampa, Florida address.

He'll be in court next week for a preliminary hearing on the drug charges


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