Bridgeport, Conn., diocesan priest remains unprosecuted for theft

Over the last few days, there have been two sad stories involving a Belleville, Ill., Catholic priest with a shoplifting habit and a Sister of St. Joseph who gambled away close to $1 million while serving as an officer of Iona College. The former is facing a felony charge, while the latter pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement.

Meanwhile, the question rises as to what is happening with the prosecution of Fr. Michael Moynihan, the popular Bridgeport, Conn., diocesan priest, who was credibly accused of embezzling at least $529,000. Moynihan resigned as pastor of St. Michael Parish in Greenwich, Conn., in January 2007.

In May 2010 and June 2010, I blogged about the Moynihan case.

To date, Moynihan has not been prosecuted.

It remains a mystery as to why there has been no prosecution by George Jepsen, Connecticut's attorney general, and David Fein, Connecticut's U.S. attorney. It remains a mystery as to why St. Michael's Parish and the Diocese of Bridgeport are not pursuing civil suits against Moynihan. Of course, if a lay parish or diocesan employee acted in the same way as Moynihan, that poor soul would be currently in jail.

Ahhhh, the benefits of a Catholic priest's Roman collar, giving new meaning to the term "religious freedom."

As to the shoplifting priest and embezzling nun, their stories are below.

According to the Belleville-News Democrat:

When the Rev. Steven Poole was released Thursday from a hospital, police arrested him again and upgraded the shoplifting charge pending against him to a felony.
Authorities said the charge was upgraded from a misdemeanor because Poole, a Catholic priest, already was on probation for a retail theft charge in Franklin County.
Belleville police first arrested Poole on Monday after he allegedly shoplifted a $28 ashtray from a downtown Belleville antiques store, Keil's Antiques and Gifts. After his arrest, he was taken to a local hospital for treatment of an undisclosed ailment.

From the New York Post:

Sister Marie Thornton gambled her life away playing the one-armed bandits in Atlantic City, losing nearly $1 million she pilfered from the coffers of upstate Iona College, where she worked as a trusted financial officer.

Sister Susie, as she is known, was spared three years in federal prison by a compassionate Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan Tuesday, after pleading guilty to one count of embezzlement.

But the 65-year-old nun has been sentenced to a lifetime of shame, shunned by Sisters of St. Joseph, the order she has served for 48 years. As an act of contrition, the lying nun spends her days and nights in solitary confinement in a small dorm-like room inside a Philadelphia convent.

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