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September 28, 2006 at 11:00 pm #1404AnonymousInactive
Cops: Priests fleeced Florida flock of millions
POSTED: 5:11 p.m. EDT, September 28, 2006
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DELRAY BEACH, Florida (AP) — Two Roman Catholic priests stole millions in offerings and gifts made to their parish as far back as 40 years ago, prosecutors said Thursday.
Monsignor John Skehan, who was pastor at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church for four decades, was arrested Wednesday night on charges that he stole $8.6 million from the church, using the money to buy property and other assets, investigators said.
The 79-year-old priest was arrested at Palm Beach International Airport as he returned from Ireland and was being held on $400,000 bond on grand theft charges.
The Rev. Francis Guinan, who succeeded Skehan three years ago, has disappeared and was being sought, city police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said. He is alleged to have stolen an unspecified amount of money to take gambling trips to Las Vegas and the Bahamas.
An anonymous tip in June 2005 led police and the church to launch the investigation.
A spokeswoman with the Diocese of Palm Beach did not immediately return calls seeking comment. It could not be immediately determined if Skehan has an attorney.
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