A Priest Stole From The Church To Gamble

22 Jan 2009

Gambling is considered to be a sin, especially if you are a catholic priest and you gamble on parishioners' money. Yesterday in Florida one man was suspected and the other one found guilty in stealing money from the church and spending them on gambling and even a mistress.

Being 81 years old, the Reverend John Skehan pleaded guilty for stealing and embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars which is thought to be the biggest embezzlement case concerning the US Catholic Church. The other one, 66-year old Rev Francis Guinan has denied the charges and is suspected in stealing over $1 mln in the period of 2001-2006, while the church auditors name the number to be over $8 mln over the last 20 years.

Rev Guinan is claimed to be spending the stolen money on gambling trips and on his mistress, who is in fact a former church book-keeper. Rev Guinan took his mistress on expensive holidays, paid her credit bills and the school fees of her child.

Nothing went wrong till 2005 when anonymous parishioner told the police to check the church. However, police received the letter from Rev Guinan in which he asked them to "call off the dogs" and Rev Skehan described himself and his partner as "generous, charitable and compassionate".

The pleas were ignored however, and in September 2006 Rev Skehan was arrested at Palm Beach International Airport.

The trial of Rev Guinan is set on February 18th, he is facing 31 years in prison. The lawyer of Reverend claims his client is not guilty and that he has 20 witnesses at his sentencing.

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