TWO disgraced Roman Catholic priests have been sentenced to prison in a case involving the misappropriation of more than $8 million from their church.
John Skehan and Francis Guinan were accused in 2006 of skimming money from collection plates and bequests at their church in Delray Beach, Florida, and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on real estate, travel, rare coins and girlfriends.
According to this report, Skehan, 81, was sentenced on 14 months in prison and seven years probation after pleading guilty in January to a charge of grand theft of over $100,000, while Guinan, 66, was sentenced to four years in prison after he was found guilty of a lesser charge of theft under $100,000.
Imposing a prison sentence on Skehan, Judge Jeffrey Colbath said:
The crime of the defendant was pure greed unmasked.
Judge Krista Marx said Guinan must be punished for:
When the priests were charged in September 2006, police said they had channeled money from collection plates into secret slush funds, using some of it for church projects and part for vacations, property and gambling trips to Las Vegas and the Bahamas.
Unmitigated greed and unmitigated gall. No matter how many good works you have performed in your many years as a priest, your legacy will always be one of thievery and deceit.
Investigators said Skehan, a priest for more than 50 years, invested heavily in rare coins, owned a cottage and a pub in Ireland, a $455,000 penthouse condominium in Singer Island, Florida, and another apartment in Delray Beach.
Forensic accountants hired by the diocese found that $8.7 million had been misappropriated from the St. Vincent Ferrer Church during the tenures of Skehan and his successor, Guinan.