St. Mary

Father Raymond Flores at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church has been placed on administrative leave as the result of "inappropriate behavior of a priest." 

St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church placed a parochial vicar on administrative leave July 20 following a report of the priest allegedly exchanging inappropriate photos with a male juvenile.

Father Raymond Flores, 33, of Aiken, was placed on leave without the ability to perform priestly duties, according to a Tuesday news release by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston.

Aiken County Sheriffs Office deputies were advised by a complainant on Monday that the victim and Flores began an online conversation via an adult social media application, according to a Sheriff's Office incident report.

The report states that during the conversations, photographs were exchanged of genitalia between the victim and Flores. 

The complainant advised that the victim's family did not wish for further investigation, according to the report. The incident report states the Aiken County Sheriff's Office Juvenile Division will follow up. 

According to The Catholic Miscellany, Flores began his tenure at the church on Sept. 1, 2018.

Earlier, the news report from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston said the inappropriate conduct did not involve physical contact between Flores and the juvenile. 

Although the exact nature of the behavior is not detailed, "parish and diocesan officials followed all legal and appropriate protocols, including prompt notification of law enforcement officials," the release from the diocese states.

No charges have been filed against Flores at this time.

"The safety of children and youth is a top priority at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church and School, and in parishes and schools throughout the Diocese of Charleston," reads the release from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston. "Additionally, diocesan officials provide appropriate resources to those involved in situations affecting or potentially affecting young people."  

Matthew Enfinger is a general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @matt_enfinger