The footage of Father Stephen Crossan, 37, was reportedly taken after a night of drinking at a parochial house in July 2015 in Banbridge, County Down. In the video, it sounds as though Crossan is saying, “I shouldn’t” as he places a cigarette in an ashtray and snorts what appears to be drugs using rolled-up US currency.
The incident occurred at what was then Crossan’s residence at the St. Patrick's Church, in a room filled with Nazi memorabilia including hats, a statue of an eagle with a swastika on it, and flags. Crossan told The Irish Sun that he is not a Nazi, and that the room contains historical artifacts from many countries.
“We were pretty stunned to see all the Nazi stuff everywhere — badges, hats and flags. He showed me all these pins — there must have been about a hundred badges,” one of the people who was partying with the priest told the Sun.
“At one point Stephen put on a cap and did the Nazi salute but he was just messing around.”
Crossan has now taken leave from his priesthood, and told the Sun that “it was just the one night and that was it. I do not have an issue with drugs.” He was reportedly depressed and on sick leave from his pastoral duties at the time the video was filmed, which the Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey confirmed in a statement.
Bishop McAreavey also expressed concern over Crossan’s health, and stated that he is receiving counselling while considering his future. His spokesperson told the Sun that he will be supporting the priest “through his issues.”