The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has placed a Stoneham priest on leave after the 46-year-old was arrested in New York City last week on charges of stalking talk-show host Conan O'Brien.
The Rev. David Ajemian is accused of sending threatening mail to the host's home and office, contacting his parents, and showing up at studios in Manhattan where O'Brien's show is shot, Barbara Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney's office, told the Associated Press.
Thompson did not return a call from the Globe last night.
Ajemian was arrested last week while trying to enter a taping session of NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," she told the wire service.
"As a result of his arrest, the Archdiocese has placed Fr. Ajemian on leave, and he is no longer able to exercise public ministry," the archdiocese said last night in an e-mail.
The archdiocese added that church officials were cooperating with New York City authorities.
"Further, during this difficult time, the Archdiocese will offer pastoral support to all parties affected."
Ajemian, who became a priest in 2001, was most recently assigned to work as
a parochial vicar at St. Patrick Church in Stoneham. He had been unassigned
since June, according to an archdiocese spokeswoman.
Ajemian, a parochial vicar at St. Patrick Church in Stoneham, became a priest in 2001, according to a Catholic Church directory.
According to Thompson, Ajemian wrote in one of the letters, "I want a public confession before I ever consider giving you absolution - or a spot on your couch." He signed the missives "Padre," Thompson told the AP.
Thompson said the messages were "intended to cause annoyance and alarm." Ajemian could face up to a year in prison if convicted on the charges of aggravated harassment and stalking.
In September 2006, around the same time prosecutors allege that Ajemian began contacting the television host, O'Brien helped open an archdiocese-supported meal center in Lawrence. O'Brien, who grew up in Brookline, has maintained a public friendship with the Rev. Paul B. O'Brien, pastor of Saint Patrick Church in Lawrence, who also participated in the ceremony.
Paul O'Brien, who is not related to the comedian and actor but also grew up in Brookline, was Conan O'Brien's roommate at Harvard.
According to a July 19, 2006, story in the Stoneham Independent noting Ajemian's appointment to St. Patrick's Parish of Stoneham, Ajemian also attended Harvard. Whether Ajemian and Conan O'Brien knew each other could not immediately be determined.
Ajemian's father, reached at home last night, declined to comment.
John C. Drake can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: Because of a reporting error, a story in yesterday's City & Region section incorrectly stated the parish assignment of the Rev. David Ajemian. Ajemian's assignment at St. Patrick Church in Stoneham ended in June 2007, and he was unassigned at the time of his arrest last week in Manhattan on charges of stalking late-night talk-show host Conan O'Brien. He was in-residence at Saint Mary-Saint Catherine of Sienna Church in Charlestown at the time, but was not serving in an official capacity, according to the Boston Archdiocese.