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Cops: Priest traded service hours for 'intimate hugs' | News

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Cops: Priest traded service hours for 'intimate hugs'

Tampa -- He's a priest who looks like Jolly old St. Nick, but cops said his actions were anything but holy.  

Charles Leigh is the head of Apostolic Catholic Church in Tampa, but Tuesday night, he was in custody- busted, cops say, for trading bogus community service hours for "intimate" hugs.

"He was a little too like- gripping too hard and then he was smelling my neck, and I was like 'no way dude," said one young woman who performed community service at the church. "That's why I didn't come back because I thought he was one of those pervs, man."

Tampa cops said they were tipped off back in June that Leigh was falsifying court probation paperwork in exchange for a quick feel, so on two separate occasions, they sent in an undercover female officer to pose as a woman on probation in need of community service hours. 

"He wrote down on the official department of corrections form that she did 17 hours, which she never did, in exchange for four hugs," said Tampa Police Cpl. Felitia Pecora.

But according to TPD, the so-called hugs were suspect.

"In her estimation it was not a friendly hug. It was that thing inside you that tells you 'something isn't right', that was going off," said Pecora.

L.B. Jones, a priest at a neighboring church, said Leigh, who referred to himself as a bishop, never acted weird.

"When I heard that about him, and the way he projected himself with me, and the things we shared together, I couldn't believe it," said Jones.

Follow 10 News Reporter Charles Billi on twitter @Charles Billi


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