TEWKSBURY (CBS) – The Boston Archdiocese recently fired a well-known church deacon and prison chaplain amid accusations that he smuggled drugs into a local prison.
People who know him though are stunned, and they suspect there must be more to the story.
Most know William Emerson as “Deacon Bill” for his role at St. William Church in Tewksbury.
“He’s been here for all these years and I’ve known him as a nice man and he worked hard for this parish,” said Will Lembert, a parishioner.
WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez reports.
But, it was his other role as a prison chaplain that has the deacon facing drug allegations.
“He’s well liked. I’ve never heard of anything negative, so, sad if it’s true but I hope it’s not,” said Anthony Brown, a parishioner.
Emerson was fired from his job at the Middlesex House of Correction at the beginning of March, and the sheriff’s office didn’t give a reason for his recent termination.
Emerson spoke with WBZ over the phone and said he was fired because he was accused of smuggling drugs to inmates. He said those drugs were in an envelope and he never knew what was inside.
Emerson later said he has hired a lawyer.
The accusations surprised former Tewksbury selectman Joe Gill, especially since the two worked together on drug prevention programs.
“Knowing Bill knowing what he stood for, it’s not him,” said Gill. “He had formed the Tewksbury Drug Abuse Committee, mainly aimed at the young adults of Tewksbury and his mission was trying to steer him on the straight and narrow.”
So far, Emerson is not facing any charges, but along with losing his post at the prison, the Boston Archdiocese is taking away his permission to serve as a deacon.
Deacon Emerson was ordained by the archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska in 1973, and he was given the OK to practice in Boston in 1982.