Former St. Paul financial director pleads guilty to embezzlement

Earlier today, the former financial director of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis pled guilty to embezzling $670,000. The 51-year-old was in Ramsey County court to admit to three counts of felony theft-by-swindle.

We first brought you this story about the former financial director in March 2012. At that point in time he had been fired and was under suspicion of embezzlement, but he had not been formally charged. In fact, he was merely being investigated by the Archdiocese, not by police, although the Archdiocese did turn over all of its findings to police, leading to the charges of theft-by-swindle.

What is of particular concern in this case is that the preliminary investigation was done by the Archdiocese. Had the investigation been done by police, they would have been forced to comply with the protections set in place by the Constitution. Since the Catholic Church is a private body, it was not bound by the same protections when investigating the accountant.

Ultimately, the evidence that the Church gathered and gave to police was overwhelming enough that the man chose to plead guilty. It is unknown what evidence the police only had access to because it was turned over by the Church, however.

Under the accountant’s plea agreement, he will likely be sentenced to more than three years in prison in July. After he gets out, hoewver, he may have tremendous difficulty finding employment with a permanent criminal record.

If you would like to learn more, please read our former post on the alleged embezzlement investigation.

Source: KSTP 5, “Ex-Archdiocese Accountant Pleads Guilty in Theft,” Leslie Dyste, May 16, 2013

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