Catholic Priest Loses $650,000 GamblingJanuary 2, 2012 4:27 pm
A Catholic priest who stole $650,000 from his Las Vegas parish over an eight year period will appear before a federal court on January 13th.
Monsignor Kevin McAuliffe, 58, is facing up to 60 years behind bars and $750,000 in fines, but will be arguing for leniency due to being a pathological gambler, as well as suffering from depression.
Apparently, Kevin McAuliffe lead a frugal, austere life while a pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. However, the money he stole while working in Nevada was spent gambling in a state where 6% of adults are considered compulsive gamblers. In order to fund his addiction, the former priest would often steal from a variety of sources, including the collection basket, the church mission fund, and the general bank account.
Kevin McAuliffe has now undertaken a treatment program for his addiction, and a member of his group, Robert Ragan, said his own recovery was greatly helped by the presence of McAuliffe. As Ragan explains:
“Kevin has a very strong recovery right now. He’s staying positive about everything. He’s in acceptance, which is a great place to be. All he can do is move forward and make amends.”
Gambling is a notoriously difficult addiction to pinpoint as there are no physical symptoms to identify, as compared to say drink, drugs, or even having an eating disorder. As well as theft, its negative influence can also extend far beyond monetary matters, and lead to other destructive behavior, such as neglect of children and even domestic violence.
The former vicar said he was deeply ashamed of the hurt he has caused to all those who trusted him, but that he now wished to help those suffering from the same problem. As his attorney Margaret Stanish explains:
“He thinks some good can come out of this if he talks about what he’s gone through. Our hope is the judge takes into account the monsignor’s gambling problem and all the good works he’s done.”