CARVER (AP) -- The Carver County Sheriff's Office is investigating an allegation of criminal sexual misconduct against a priest in Carver.

Rev. Thomas Joseph said in a statement that he was surprised by the allegation and is prepared to fully cooperate with the investigation because he is innocent of the accusations.

The sheriff's department says an adult female alleges Joseph had sexual contact with her several times over the course of 21/2 years.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis says Joseph has been removed from the ministry at Saint Nicholas while the allegation is investigated. The archdiocese says Joseph's removal should not be considered an indication of guilt.