The lawyer for a Roman Catholic priest under investigation for accepting more than $250,000 in cash and gifts from elderly parishioners in New Jersey says his client has taken a leave of absence.
Attorney Robert Degroot tells NJ.com that the Rev. Alex Orozco is stepping aside for an "undetermined" period of time. The Archdiocese of Newark previously said Orozco would remain in the ministry while the investigation unfolded.
Orozco told NJ.com last month that he accepted the money for a house, but used it for other purposes including helping people in his native Colombia. He called his actions a mistake.
Orozco says he didn't ask for the money in most cases, characterizing himself as a man besieged by offers.