White Plains priest arraigned on grand larceny charge
The former pastor of a White Plains Catholic church pleaded not guilty to grand larceny charges Wednesday.
Father Patrick Dunne is accused of stealing more than $430,000 donated by parishioners to the church in the course of six years while heading Our Lady of Sorrows Church. According to the Westchester County District Attorney's Office, from January 2002 through the end of 2007, Dunne wrote church checks to himself unbeknownst to church officials.
The money that Dunne allegedly stole was supposed to go toward construction work at the church, weekly offerings and help for Hurricane Katrina victims. Instead, investigators say it went to feed Dunne's gambling habit.
Local parishioners say the allegations against Dunne are disturbing.
"I feel bad, and we intend to forgive them, but it was a betrayal," says Marion Latisevs.
Dunne's lawyer says the priest wants to settle the case as soon as possible. However, it remains unknown when or whether Dunne will ever be able to pay back parishioners.
Dunne is due back in court next month. If convicted of grand larceny, Dunne could face five to 15 years behind bars.