A Las Vegas Priest Who Gambled Away $650,000 Of His Parish’s Money Gets 3 Years In Prison
Tisk, tisk. Another day, another scandal involving a Catholic priest. Now, full disclosure here: I am Catholic, so I don’t harbor any particular ill-will towards Catholic priests. Just Catholic priests who do bad things. And I have to admit: Monsignor Kevin McAuliffe did a very, very bad thing for about eight years—and he deserves the punishment that he just got for it.
In 2002, McAuliffe took complete control over the church funds of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in northern Las Vegas. He held onto that control until 2010 and was able to fudge the numbers any way he wanted to when he had to send financial statements to the Las Vegas Diocese and Catholic Archdiocese in San Francisco. As a result, McAuliffe embezzled more than $650,000 from his church and used the money to fuel a nasty gambling habit that he had developed. And, to make matters worse, he lied—repeatedly!—to the FBI when they came knocking last May to ask him about all of the missing funds at his church. As a result, he was just charged with federal mail fraud for sending phony documents to the archdiocese and could have spent up to 60 years in prison, although he was only ordered to serve three and pay restitution to his now-former church while continuing to get treatment for his gambling addiction.
I have to ask: What in the world was this guy thinking? And what is the world coming to when priests are getting into trouble for doing things like this? Undoubtedly, thanks to the location of the church, there were people in his congregation suffering from gambling addiction that this guy could have helped. Instead, he chose to make a horrible, horrible decision and join in their sinful ways. Additionally, he knowingly stole money for parishioners, used it for his own personal use, and then lied about his crime when he was asked about it.
It sucks when I hear about regular people doing things like this. But, a priest? It’s getting pretty damn hard to have much faith in humanity when guys like this who are in positions of power are going around committing crimes. I hope he sees the error of his ways and uses his situation to improve the lives of others. Whether it’s by assisting those suffering from gambling addition or finding another way to give back, this guy owes a lot to his community. I also hope that scandals like this stop making the Catholic church look bad. But I fear they won’t. Priests are human just like you and I and, unfortunately, that means that they sin, too. But do they really have to sin like this? It makes it hard for the rest of us to believe in other people and even harder for us to do the right thing when no one’s watching.