A priest in the Hudson Valley has taken a leave of absence after admitting to struggling with alcohol and making an improper sexual advance.

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Reverend Jeffrey Maurer admitted to struggling with alcoholism and celibacy in a letter sent to parishioners of Saint Mary's Church in Washingtonville, after a few weeks absence.

"I have been spending this time in a residential treatment program to confront the problem I have with alcohol. This has been a difficult, but important, step for me to take," Mauer said in the letter shared by Saint Mary's. "This period of reflection and treatment has also forced me to confront the fact that, when drinking, I made an improper advance towards another adult. I am sorry for and ashamed of my action, especially for the hurt this caused the other adult."

Parishioners were originally told Mauer was going on a "retreat" back in August. In the letter, he confirmed he checked into an alcoholism treatment center and will be continuing his treatment there.

"Given the issues that I am currently addressing, I will be continuing in residential care, as I seek to overcome my problem with alcohol, and re-integrate my commitment to celibacy, so that I might live healthier, happier, and holier, and be more effective in my ministry as priest and pastor," he said. "Please know that I love you and that I am sorry to have disappointed or hurt you. But because I love you, I need to do this - for me and for you."

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