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Argentine priest banned from priestly duties

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September 24, 2013 06:11 PM EST | AP

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A Roman Catholic priest who is serving a 15-year jail sentence in Argentina for sexually abusing a boy has been banned from performing priestly duties.

The bishopric of Moron in western Buenos Aires announced the prohibition affecting Father Julio Cesar Grassi on Tuesday.

Church officials said any further decision about the priest would await final action on his appeal in Argentina's courts.

Well-known for persuading Argentine celebrities to donate to the Happy Children Foundation, Grassi was transferred to a maximum security prison Tuesday, a day after he began serving his sentence.

Grassi had previously been free despite charges of abusing the teenager in 1996.

He continued living across the street from the orphanage after his 2009 conviction while he appealed. Grassi was taken into custody Monday after the top provincial court upheld his sentence.

The 57-year-old priest says he's innocent. He will now make his final appeal to Argentina's Supreme Court from prison.