Cleansing Fire

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Fr. Panepinto admits taking church funds, claims blackmail

July 21st, 2011, Promulgated by Mike

The D&C is reporting  that Fr. Vincent Panepinto has been charged with stealing about $10,000 from Our Lady of the Americas Parish over a 3-year period ending December 31, 2010.

The report says that Fr. Panepinto has admitted taking the money and has also claimed that he was being blackmailed.

Fr. Panepinto has been on administrative leave since last March, when the diocese deemed as credible an allegation of sexual abuse against a minor dating back to the 1960s.

Full D&C story here.

Previous CF posts concerning Fr. Panepinto’s suspension are here and here.

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10 Responses to “Fr. Panepinto admits taking church funds, claims blackmail”

  1. avatar Dr. K says:

    He better pay back every single penny he stole from those good people. Corpus Christi has been in massive debt for years, and this thievery only adds to their financial troubles.

    Perhaps he needed some cash to pay for the off-campus home he resided in instead of the parish rectory?

  2. avatar christian says:

    The whole situation regarding Fr. Panepinto is very disheartening as well as the recent church closings, including St. Andrew Church, my parish.
    People look for a stable place amidst the changing circumstances of their life. People also try to have a trusted source for confession, spiritual advice, and solace. Catholic Faithful look to their parish and church for that stable place amidst life’s changing circumstances. Catholic Faithful look to their priest for that trusted source for confession, spiritual advice, and solace. The first of these oasis’s is being threatened as churches are continually closed (and sold), and parishioners are separated as they look for a new spiritual home and family. This “flight” makes me think of a scene from “Fiddler on the Roof.” This oasis is also being threatened by a lack of orthodoxy done in a loving way.
    The second oasis is being threatened when priests who people have trusted, confided in, and relied on for for holy mass and spiritual growth for years, have been found guilty of sexual assault and misconduct, especially among minors, and embezzling church funds. Fr. Panepinto has a lot of company.
    We have to look to Jesus Christ for our still point in a changing world. One day we will all come face to face with Christ. Lord have mercy! The lesson we can of all learn is to live each day for Christ and have the knowledge that every choice we make and everything we do will come to light one day. God give us your grace to make the right decisions and carry them into action. There will be no greater joy than to be in the presence of Jesus, (“Beholding The Face”),for all Eternity.

  3. avatar militia says:

    I am a bit confused about this charge. Seems to be no doubt that Fr. P is admitting he took money, but it seems unusual in a church with so much secrecy and cover-up for the Chancellor to be the one filing a complaint in a non-sexual abuse case (which is one that does require reporting). It seems that cases like this have been worked out in the past between employer and employee for restitution and keeping it from being a crime as an incentive for repayment. So if it really was blackmail, was this a necessary step in order to get civil authorities to investigate who is doing the blackmailing and why and to bring other charges? Does the filing of a complaint change the retirement pay to the priest or other earned benefits? Lots we don’t understand here.

  4. avatar christian says:

    Our Lady of the Americas (A.K.A. Corpus Christi) which is probably a blend of Corpus Christi and St. Francis Xavier parishioners,now is included in the entity of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish,which it is not just Our Lady of the Americas’ problem anymore, but the problem of the whole cluster and new parish St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. I wonder how this problem will play out in regard to the situation of Annunciation.

  5. avatar Mike says:

    militia,

    I’m confused too. Was there really blackmail going on? If yes, then was it related to the alleged abuse or to something else entirely? If the former, then was the blackmailer the alleged victim or someone else and if the latter, then what was Fr. Panepinto being blackmailed for?

    There were just too many unknowns to speculate about the possibilities it in my post.

  6. avatar Dan Riley says:

    I have to defend Father Panepinto.

    I know that Bishop Clark is very vindictive and will settle a score with any priest that crosses him on any issue. It may take a few years to accomplish this malicious action, just as he did to Father Steger, which included public humiliation.

    It is our understanding that the books on Buffalo Rd. in the diocese are cooked. That means there is a lot of alleged fraud involved and it goes straight to the top and stops at the bishop’s office. An attorney who is in good standing in Rochester had to drop off of the diocesan financial committee because he didn’t want any part of the fraudulent activity.

    Maybe this is a good time to start talking about a “forensic audit” of the millions of dollars on the diocesan financial books. Start with Bishop Clark and a lie detector machine and a few IRS agents. Let us pick a few of our own sharp CPA’s to represent the parishioner’s financial interest.

    I do not trust Bishop Matthew Clark or diocesan Chancellor Father Dan Condon.

  7. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Is that only rumor the books are cooked.

    If they are then the DOR is a house of cards ready to fall.

    How was Archbishop Waekland dethroned? What prompted all his bad actions to surface.

    God is in charge in the DOR. Thinks will be righted.

  8. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Dan Riley wrote:

    “I have to defend Father Panepinto.
    I know that Bishop Clark is very vindictive and will settle a score with any priest that crosses him on any issue. It may take a few years to accomplish this malicious action, just as he did to Father Steger, which included public humiliation.
    It is our understanding that the books on Buffalo Rd. in the diocese are cooked. That means there is a lot of alleged fraud involved and it goes straight to the top and stops at the bishop’s office. An attorney who is in good standing in Rochester had to drop off of the diocesan financial committee because he didn’t want any part of the fraudulent activity.
    Maybe this is a good time to start talking about a “forensic audit” of the millions of dollars on the diocesan financial books. Start with Bishop Clark and a lie detector machine and a few IRS agents. Let us pick a few of our own sharp CPA’s to represent the parishioner’s financial interest….”

    I have no inside info to validate what you said, but all this that you wrote, Dan, rings true. Yes, ALL of it, sadly. It just makes sense with all the inconsistencies (and consistencies).

    “…I do not trust Bishop Matthew Clark or diocesan Chancellor Father Dan Condon.”

    I don’t either. 🙁

  9. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Richard Thomas wrote:
    “Is that only rumor the books are cooked.
    If they are then the DOR is a house of cards ready to fall…”

    The bad house will soon be over!

    “…How was Archbishop Weakland dethroned? What prompted all his bad actions to surface…”

    Good question. And so many parallels, there.

    “…God is in charge in the DOR. Things will be righted.”

    I think so too.

  10. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    If the DOR books are cooked, it stands to reason that some of the parish books are cooked too!! At least one of the priests in the past that I know of was told that if he returned the money that he had taken, he would not be prosecuted. He stayed out of court.


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