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Retired Episcopal Priest Charged With Sexual Abuse

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BALTIMORE (AP) — Episcopal Church and Montana officials say a retired priest is facing child sexual abuse charges and is awaiting extradition to Maryland. 

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland issued a statement Wednesday saying the Rev. Donald Belcher, who now lives in Yaak, Mont., had been indicted by a Maryland grand jury on child sexual abuse charges. 

Crystal Byington, deputy court clerk in Lincoln County, Mont., said Belcher appeared in court Dec. 29 on a Maryland extradition warrant for a sexual assault charge. 

The diocese said Belcher, 82, was vicar of the Church of the Holy Cross in Street from 2001 to 2007. The diocese says steps are being taken to prohibit Belcher from priestly functions and an investigation has begun. 

It could not be determined if Belcher has a lawyer. 

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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