What began as an investigation into alleged financial fraud quickly snowballed, leading to criminal charges today that the former president of Archbishop Ryan High School, a Franciscan friar, sexually abused at least three students, stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in Archdiocesan and Franciscan funds, and gave at least $53,000 to a particular student with whom he had an affair fueled by drug-and-alcohol abuse, Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham said at a news conference.

An arrest warrant was issued for Rev. Charles Newman, 57, who became president of the high school in July 2002 and was fired in November 2003 following a forensic audit that revealed some of the thefts, Abraham said.

At that time, said Abraham, Newman admitted he had made mistakes and was ordered by the church to undergo counseling and treatment for "sexual predatory conduct."

He currently lives in a retirement home for Franciscans in Pulaski, Wisconsin, she said. She called on him to return to Philadelphia immediately and turn himself in.

"That doesn't mean after Christmas," she said. "It means as soon as he can get on a plane."

If he fails to return voluntarily, she said, she would seek his extradition.