'Truly sorry' embezzling priest spared jail time

Fr. Norman Sullivan, a suspended pastor from Buffalo, was spared a jail term for embezzling $213,732 from his parish because the money has been repaid.

State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia ordered Sullivan, 74, to perform 1,000 hours of community service while he is on court-supervised probation for the next five years and ordered him to submit to warrantless searches while he remains under court control.

Sullivan pleaded guilty July 16 to third-degree grand larceny to theft of money from the former Most Holy Redeemer Parish from May 30, 2000 until Jan. 31, 2008. He told the judge "I am truly sorry" and that he is "disgraced and embarrassed."

Since his guilty plea Sullivan has been barred from saying Mass or administering sacraments or even dressing in priestly clothing.

Since 2004, the Erie County District Attorney's Office has prosecuted at least five other embezzlements from Catholic parishes and schools, ranging from $230,000 to $488,000.

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