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Retired Boise priest facing child sexual exploitation charges out on bond

Father W. Thomas Faucher faces 12 counts of sexual exploitation of a child, as well as additional charges for possession of marijuana and ecstasy.

BOISE - A retired Boise priest facing multiple felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child bonded out of the Ada County Jail Tuesday night, the Ada County Sheriff's Office has confirmed.

Sheriff's office spokesman Patrick Orr said Father W. Thomas Faucher - a retired priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Boise - bonded out at around 6 p.m. His bond was set at $250,000.

The 72-year-old was arrested Feb. 2 by investigators with the state attorney general's Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.

Faucher faces 12 counts of sexual exploitation of a child, as well as additional charges for possession of marijuana and ecstasy. Two of the sexual exploitation charges are related to the distribution of child pornography, although Faucher is not accused of creating any of the disturbing images he allegedly shared.

Police who raided Faucher's home at St. Mary's discovered "very graphic" child pornography, some depicting children as young as infants being sexually abused, prosecutors said during his arraignment on Monday.

MORE: Prosecutor: Retired Boise priest had porn of sexual abuse of infants, toddlers

It was unclear if Faucher was back at his home Wednesday evening. However, Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise spokesperson Gene Fadness said it's within his rights to be there. Fadness said Faucher has a rental lease agreement with St. Mary's Parish, and that he paying his rent.

Fadness also said the church "absolutely" didn't pay for Faucher's bond.

When asked whether Faucher can receive Communion, Fadness said:

"Any Catholic who goes to confession and receives absolution can receive communion. It's between the penitent and the priest and God whether he's granted absolution.

"I don't know if Father Faucher is in the state of mind where he thinks he's guilty. That's just a private matter with him and whatever priest he goes to and God.

"Catholics determine in their conscious, in their heart, if they've sinned and they go to confession. I don't know whether Father Faucher thinks he's sinned. If he has a conscious and thinks he's sinned he would send himself to confession."

Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise said the church had never received any complaints or other indications of inappropriate behavior from Faucher, despite his countless interactions with adults and children in his role at St. Mary's. Faucher, who has preached at the church several times after retiring, will no longer be allowed to minister, due to the serious nature of the charges, the diocese said.

Fadness said the church is not paying for Faucher's defense lawyer, and added that the diocese is cooperating with the Idaho Attorney General's investigation. The church will conduct its own review after the AG's investigation is complete, he said.

Faucher is due back in court for a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 15.

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