ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – A priest assigned to the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica parish has been charged with fondling a 16-year-old girl.
Father Joseph Jiang, 29, was charged Thursday with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and first-offense sexual conduct.
According to police, the victim told police Jiang fondled her on four separate occasions at her home in Old Monroe, Missouri.
Police said the victim and her family met Jiang through their church and became close friends with him over the past year.
Authorities said the family had Jiang over at their home and would occasionally let him spend the night because of the far drive home.
The victim told police Jiang touched her inappropriately three times between May and June of this year.
Jiang, who was arrested on Wednesday, has been placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
None of the alleged conduct occurred on archdiocesan property, according to a statement released by the archdiocese.
Jiang, originally from Shandong, China, earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Holy Spirit College Seminary in Ji Nan, China.
He was ordained in May, 2010.
Jiang’s bail was set at $25,000, cash only. He bonded out on Thursday.