BOISE — Bishop Peter F. Christensen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise said in a statement Tuesday he is “absolutely stunned” by the charges against retired Boise priest W. Thomas Faucher.

Faucher was arrested Friday and faces multiple charges of sexual exploitation of a child and drug possession.

The diocese released a statement saying it had never received any complaints of this nature against Faucher, and if it had, it would have contacted law enforcement immediately.

“If these allegations are true and proven in court, they are a betrayal of the trust we place in all ministers such as Father Faucher,” Christensen stated. “Anyone who takes advantage of and exploits children for their own gratification is absolutely wrong. There are no excuses for such behavior by any one of our clergy.”

Prosecutors claim Faucher was found in possession of hundreds of files of child pornography as well as marijuana, LSD and ecstasy.

Christensen, on behalf of the diocese, encouraged victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and report to law enforcement officials.

“We must pray that the truth of this matter is revealed; pray that any children who are exploited may be healed by the grace of God, as we also pray for an end to such a disgusting evil,” the statement from the diocese reads.

Victims may report to the diocesan safe environment and victim assistance coordinator, Veronica Childers, at 208-350-7556.

Areena Arora is the City of Caldwell reporter. Contact her at aarora@idahopress.com