Irish priest caught with crystal meth in New York avoids jail
Irish priest Michael O’Leary
January 22 2021 02:30 AM
A Dublin-born priest who was found with crystal meth in New York on St Patrick’s Day has avoided prison after drugs charges against him were dismissed.
Michael O’Leary was arrested in 2019 after being caught in a car park with more than half-an-ounce of methamphetamine.
The 52-year-old was charged and later released on bail before pleading guilty to two charges, including attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell it.
He had been awaiting sentencing, with his case listed for compliance to ensure he was abiding by certain court conditions.
Records show that on Wednesday at Westchester County Criminal Court, the attempted drug dealing charge, the most serious of the two, was dismissed.
He was instead sentenced over the lesser charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance, which is categorised as a misdemeanour under New York State law.
O’Leary was given a conditional discharge for one year and released on his own recognisance.
It means he will avoid serving any prison time and possibly a criminal conviction if he does not commit a further offence over the next 12 months.
The charge of attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree with the intent of sale or supply was recorded as dismissed.
Court records stated O’Leary was the driver of a Toyota vehicle that was searched by police in the early hours of March 17, 2019.
Officers discovered a number of plastic bags, 16 grams of methamphetamine and two glass pipes.
One of the pipes had residue of the drug on it.
Digital weighing scales were also recovered from the glove box of the vehicle.
O’Leary’s co-accused, Alberto Calderon (29), of Brooklyn, New York, faced three charges, including the sale of drugs and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
The case first came to light after a separate dispute between O’Leary and his siblings in the High Court could not go ahead because of his arrest.
The Archdiocese of New York previously confirmed in a statement that O’Leary is still a priest but has not had an assignment for several years.