Did pastor steal church funds to gamble?

Archdiocese says White Plains pastor stole church funds to gamble
March 31, 2008 11:39:17 AM PDT
A long-serving pastor of a Catholic parish is under investigation for using church money to feed a gambling habit and has been permanently removed, the chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York said Sunday. The Rev. Patrick Dunne of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in White Plains took a "very significant amount of church money" because of a "very powerful" gambling addiction, Monsignor William Belford told parishioners.

Belford told the congregation that he met with Dunne last year after the archdiocese's finance office told him that undocumented checks were cashed at Our Lady of Sorrow just before Thanksgiving.

Dunne, who had been pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows since 1991, left the church right after Christmas. He is undergoing counseling at a rehabilitation center, where he offers Mass daily, Belford said. His home telephone mailbox was full and was not accepting messages on Sunday.

Church officials conducted their own investigation before alerting the office of Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, which Belford said launched an investigation.

A spokesman for the office would not confirm or deny an investigation of Dunne on Sunday.

"We do not know the extent of what took place and how much money was misused," said Belford, who described the scandal as an "enormous shock for the parish" and a "personal tragedy" for Dunne.

"So please understand that I cannot offer you any numbers or answer any questions" although Belford said that a large amount of church funds was involved.

Belford assured members that the misuse of church funds was no longer occurring and said new regulations were being followed to safeguard future donations.


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