ROCKLEDGE, Fla. — A Rockledge priest is accused of stealing more than $50,000 from a senior citizen.
Brevard County deputies arrested Father Nicholas King, 73, Friday in Cocoa, and charged him with larceny under false pretenses and scheme to defraud under false pretenses, jail records said.
Many parishioners said they were shocked to hear the news.
"I was baptized by Father King," said a parishioner who only gave his first name, Robert. "It surprises me. (It’s) a very big surprise."
Carol Brinati, a representative for the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, emailed Channel 9 the following statement Saturday: "We have been informed that Father Nicholas King, former pastor of St. Mary, Rockledge, is the subject of an investigation by the Rockledge Police Department. He is removed from ministry while the investigation is ongoing. The Diocese is cooperating with the investigation. We are saddened by the news of his arrest and ask that people of good will pray for Father King during this difficult time and for all those involved in this investigation. May the gracious care of the Lord our God be ours."
The diocese's website said King, who's originally from Ireland, was ordained 50 years ago in St. Augustine. He's lived in Central Florida since 1968.
Robert said that for now, he's giving the priest the benefit of the doubt.
"The impact he had was a lot. Of course, he taught us not to steal. I don't know if he actually did attempt to steal. Honestly, I'm not going to say anything until it's proved, but he had a huge impact,” Robert said.
King was released from jail Saturday after posting a combined $87,000 bail.
Cox Media Group