The Catholic church posted a statement to its website Sunday saying that the duties of the Rev. Francis Lawlor of Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield have been transferred to a pastor at a neighboring parish.

The step was announced to the Sacred Heart Parish community at Masses held over the weekend. The action was first reported by MassLive.

According to the MassLive, Lawlor faces a charge in Central Berkshire District Court of “open and gross lewdness” stemming from a May incident outside an Elm Street sandwich shop.

According to a Pittsfield police report, Lawlor was charged with open and gross lewdness after allegedly urinating outside an Elm Street grinder shop on May 10. He had reportedly been asked to leave the shop because he was not wearing a mask and following COVID-19 restrictions. The case in district court is pending.

The church said in its announcement Sunday that Lawlor’s duties as administrator, including pastoral care, have been reassigned on a temporary basis to Msgr. Michael Shershanovich of St. Joseph Parish in Pittsfield. The church is located at 191 Elm St.

The church's Bulletin for Nov. 22, already available on the parish's website, includes a message saying that Lawlor is on leave "pending the outcome of a personal legal matter."

The action was taken by Worcester Bishop Robert McManus, who is serving temporarily as the diocese's apostolic administrator.

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