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High-ranking Massachusetts Roman Catholic priest facing prostitution charge

A high-ranking priest with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is facing a prostitution charge.

Authorities say the Rev. Arthur Coyle was granted $500 bail after pleading not guilty Monday in Lowell to a count of sexual conduct for a fee.

Coyle is the Episcopal Vicar for the Merrimack Region, meaning he oversees several parishes in the area. He lives at the rectory of St. Rita's parish in Lowell.

Police say the 62-year-old Coyle was arrested just after 5 p.m. Sunday after he was allegedly found with a prostitute behind a Lowell cemetery.

A call to St. Rita's was referred to the archdiocese. An archdiocese spokesman did not immediately return a call or email for comment.

Coyle was ordained in 1977 and has been vicar since 2008.

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