Priest accused of dealing coke from rectory

URBANA, IL The Reverend Christopher Layden pleaded not guilty Thursday to two counts of delivery of less than 1 gram of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a church and one count of possession with intent to deliver 1 to 15 grams of cocaine near a church.

The 33-year-old was arrested Wednesday at St. John's Catholic Newman Center after investigators found 3 grams of cocaine and drug paraphernalia while searching his home and office. His bond was set at $50,000.

The Catholic Diocese of Peoria says it has suspended Layden.

His attorney, Mark D. Lipton, did not immediately respond to an after hours message seeking comment.

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