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Priest may face theft crimes for stealing donations to parishes

A 56-year-old priest in California has admitted to stealing nearly $100,000 from parishes he served. The man took the money from many collection plate offerings over several years, according to the Diocese of Santa Rosa.

The matter came to light after the priest was involved in an auto accident in June. After the crash, the priest informed emergency personnel that there were several bags of money in his car. The cash came to more than $18,000, which the priest claimed was his salary. The money was then brought with the priest to the hospital. A worker contacted law enforcement, which then contacted a bishop.

In addition to the cash in the vehicle, multiple bags of money were found in the priest's home and office. He is accused of having taken more than $77,000. The thefts occurred from September to June. Money was allegedly taken from the Resurrection Roman Catholic Parish in Santa Rosa, Parish of St. Mary Immaculate in Lakeport and Our Lady Queen of Peace in Clearlake. The bishop said the priest admitted he had taken funds from the California parishes. He is currently suspended from parish duties. Law enforcement has not yet filed charges and the investigation is continuing.

Theft crimes can have severe consequences with an extensive future impact. This is especially true for people whose work involves moral and ethical behavior. Depending on the details of the case, someone confronted with accusations of stealing large sums of money can face felony charges. A defendant in a theft-related case may want to reach out to a criminal defense lawyer who can help plan for a defense.

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