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Fr. Arko, the marijuana priest

The Marijuana Priest

On January 21, 2004, Fr. Richard Arko, 40, above, and accomplice Jensen Powell, 24, were arrested by the police for growing marijuana in a closet in the rectory of Prince of Peace church.

Fr. Arko was pastor of the church, which is on the border of the cities of Norton and Barbarton, Ohio, and belongs to the Diocese of Cleveland. In a letter to parishioners, Bishop Anthony Pilla declared the case "confused" him. On April 6, Fr. Arko pleaded guilty before the court judge. In a spare bedroom of the rectory, 35 marijuana plants (from 6 inches to 4-feet) were discovered, along with grow lights, eletric transformers, air purifiers and various how-to drug volumes, including
The Marijuana Grower's Guide and Opium for the Masses.

Jensen Powell was living in the rectory and police alleged he sold marijuana from that residence. In fact, two small plastic bags of marijuana and $1,100 in cash were confiscated from Powell.

The priest, pictured above in the Summit County Jail photo, is also facing criminal probation into allegations of sexual abuse of a 15-year-old youth.To see a photo of Fr. Arko teaching a yoga class at St. Mary's Parish Hall and a picture of the pots of marijuana found in the rectory, click here and here.

Posted October 24, 2004

Tradition in Action


A statue of Our Lady of La Salette weeping

Our Lady of La Salette,
restore the Holy Church

Previews of the New Papay book cover

Find 500 more pictures in
Previews of the New Papacy


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