updated 4/7/2009 10:58:46 AM ET 2009-04-07T14:58:46

A former pastor in New York City is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from his parish to pay for plastic surgery, Botox injections and prescription drugs.

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The Rev. William Blasingame cited medical reasons when he resigned in January from St. Paul's Memorial Episcopal Church on Staten Island.

He is accused of stealing $84,537 over three years. The money was earmarked for parishioners in need and the upkeep of church grounds.

Blasingame could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of second-degree grand larceny and possession of stolen property.

Attorney James Hasson calls the allegations a "bad mistake" and says there's "some kind of a vendetta" against his client.

He's due back in court May 12.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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