A local Catholic priest once arrested for stalking comedian Conan O’Brien wants to minister again, but in an exclusive interview tells FOX Undercover that the Archdiocese of Boston has turned its back on him and is treating him worse than pedophiles.
Father David Ajemian went from obscure priest to the center of media attention in 2007 after New York City police arrested him outside the studio of late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien.
“I think that if I thought I could get an extra ticket, go into the audience, he would recognize me and perhaps find the whole situation somewhat amusing,” Ajemian said.
But no one was laughing, since Ajemian's arrest capped months of letter-writing to O’Brien in which Ajemian referred to himself as "your priest-stalker" and asked O’Brien, "is this the way you treat your most dangerous fans?"
“I think I said I'm your most dangerous fan or something. Meaning was that being a priest and someone who had this inside connection to his life a little bit, there was something dangerous about the idea of having a priest on a show like that. That's actually what I meant by that line,” he said.
He blames his actions in part on a stimulant prescribed by his doctor.
“I am not a stalker,” Ajemian said. “That word I take to mean somebody whose hiding around bushes, sending explicitly homicidal or dangerous communications and it's just not the case with me at all.
Ajemian was found fit to stand trial but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and ordered to stay away from O’Brien.
The Archdiocese of Boston sent him to a residential treatment facility out of state. But within months, Ajemian left, returning to Massachusetts.
Why did he leave?
“I resented it because I was put among a group of people who were largely accused of sex crimes and substance abuse.,” he said. “What distressed me most of all is that the Archdiocese said we would almost like you to stay in these settings for the rest of your life.”
Ajemian says the Archdiocese stopped paying him when he left treatment. The church says he's "absent without permission".
“Do you think the Archdiocese treated pedophile priests better than it's treated you?” Ajemian was asked.
“I think some of those men have been allowed to return to work in spite of what they did,” Ajemian replied.
Ajemian says he also should be allowed to return to work
“Tthe question is, where is a placement that’s going to be appropriate for me given the fact I am an outspoken, impulsive, confrontational individual?” he said.
Not only is he impulsive, Ajemian acknowledges he has also been diagnosed as bipolar, for which he takes lithium.
Despite everything that's happened, the priest isn't convinced the diagnosis is right.
“Are you mentally ill?” asked FOX Undercover’s Mike Beaudet.
“No,” Ajemian replied. “The word bipolar has been tossed around with me quite a bit. And we all have heard that term many times…. I guess I have to leave that to the doctors.”
Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and FOX News contributor, reviewed the interview.
“They can't give him responsibilities as a priest. He's not well,” Ablow said.
“Everyone is wrong in his mind except for him. He still thinks he's got it all right and that the rest of the world is wrong. That's a recipe for disaster,” he said. “This man needs comprehensive psychiatric care. He's gotten some. He should embrace it. There's more that might be offered.”
Dr. Ablow says Ajemian can get better and the Archdiocese should do whatever it can to assist him.
While it may not be realistic for Ajemian to return to active ministry anytime soon, the priest believes the Archdiocese is most concerned with its own reputation.
“Do you feel that you're not being given a fair shake by the Archdiocese?” FOX Undercover’s Beaudet asked.
“Well I do feel that way,” Ajemian replied. “Obviously for an institution like the Archdiocese, which has to worry about looking good and looking conservative, they're not going to like a priest who goes around trying to challenge TV stars.”
The Archdiocese of Boston declined to say much, citing respect for Father Ajemian and others affected by his actions, but did say, “The Archdiocese has many times and in many ways attempted to provide appropriate and comprehensive care for Fr. David Ajemian. We continue to pray that Fr. Ajemian will avail himself of the resources we have offered to him."
A spokesman for Conan O’Brien declined to comment.