Priest fired for allegedly gambling with church funds

A priest at Our Lady of Sorrows Church has been permanently removed for allegedly stealing parish money to feed a gambling addiction.

Rev. Patrick Dunne served the parish for 17 years. Monsignor William Bedford, chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York, was at the church Sunday to let parishioners know about Dunne?s departure.

?He?s suffering a lot from the gradual recognition of what he did wrong,? Bedford says. He says the sign that something was wrong was when it was noticed that church checks were made out to cash instead of to a person. Bedford says he was tipped off in November when the parish finance office told him undocumented checks were being cashed from the church.

An audit told Bedford that Dunne was stealing church money and using it to feed his gambling addiction. ?Once you understand that someone has an addiction, someone doesn?t have full control,? Bedford says.

Parishioners had mixed reactions of sorrow and support for Dunne. ?It?s unfortunate,? John Neubauer says. ?I think everyone feels for him ? wish him the best.?

?He?s human and he made a big mistake,? Peggy Robinson says. ?I hope that everyone can forgive him and get past it.?

It is not clear how much money was stolen. Charges may be pending, depending on what the district attorney decides.

Dunne was let go just after Christmas. He is currently in rehab, getting help for his addiction.

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